To News and Stories

First US-made Abrams tanks arrived in Ukraine, Zelenskyy confirms

US President Joe Biden announced the decision to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in January 2023. A number of them have already arrived in Ukraine, as confirmed by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy on September 25.

“I am grateful to the allies for fulfilling the agreements! We are looking for new contracts, expanding the geography of supply,” wrote Zelenskyy.

An M1A1 Abrams tank.
Photo: Staff Sgt. Matthew A. Foster / US Army National Guard

The US Department of Defense initially announced that 31 M1A2 Abrams tanks would be delivered to Ukraine. Later, in March, the US government clarified that it would instead send M1A1 Abrams tanks from refurbished hulls already in the US inventory, and the delivery would take place in the fall. At the same time, military training for Ukrainian crews on these tanks was also organized.

According to the Pentagon Press Secretary, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the M1A1 Abrams have “a very similar capability” to the M1A2, including advanced armor and weapons systems such as a 120 mm cannon and a 50-caliber heavy machine gun.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
after a bilateral meeting at the Pentagon. September 21, 2023.
By Chad J. McNeeley, DOD

On September 22, 2023, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reported a number of significant results following his visit to the United States. Those include an agreement on the joint production of weapons and defense systems, including air defense systems.

“This is something that was an absolute fantasy until recently but will become a reality. We will make it a reality. Everyone who works for the state,” said Zelenskyy.

In addition, on September 21, the US Department of Defense announced its new $325 million military aid package to Ukraine. In particular, it includes AIM-9M missiles for air defense, additional ammunition for HIMARS, Avenger air defense systems, as well as other capabilities. 

In total, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, the United States has committed more than $29.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.