Ukrainian tank crews in the eastern front see the first delivery of U.S. Abrams tanks to Kyiv as a boost that will offer them more protection and firepower in battle.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday that Ukraine had taken delivery of its first shipment of U.S. jet-powered Abrams tanks to help in the defence against Russia’s invasion.
Mark Milley, the top U.S. general, has said he regards M1 Abrams tanks as the world’s best and that they “will make a difference” in the 19-month-old war. With a powerful engine, 120 mm main gun and special armour, the Abrams tank is particularly lethal against heavy armour forces.
Ukrainian tank crews training in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine said that once they were deployed, the Abrams tanks would be a big step up from the Soviet-era tanks they are currently operating.
“The Abrams tank….has protection against ammunition detonation. (This tank) does not have it. If ammunition detonates, there is no chance to survive,” said tank driver Vitalii, 29.
A tank commander who uses the call-sign “Wel” said his team needed the additional firepower and protection offered by the Abrams and other Western tanks, such as the German-made Leopard.