Not M1A1 Abrams Tanks, the US sends Soviet Era T-72s to Ukraine

Ukraine will receive 45 Soviet-era T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic and Holland. Ukraine has asked NATO for new tanks, especially western ones.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

On November 4, the United States made public its intention to provide Ukraine with the following tranche of military assistance, which is estimated to be worth $ 400 million and will, for the first time, also contain 45 tanks. During a press briefing, a deputy spokesperson for the Pentagon named Sabrina Singh stated that the tanks in question are Soviet tanks of the T-72 model that “the Ukrainians know how to use” and that they will be delivered to Ukraine before the end of the year.

The disclosure comes a month after Senator Lindsey Graham made the statement that the United States government was contemplating the prospect of supplying modern tanks to the Ukrainian army. 

“Hopefully, in the coming days, we can do something to provide the Ukrainian defence forces with more modern tanks,” said Lindsey Graham.

There was information that the Pentagon had previously provided for such a possibility, and in the near future, they will begin to withdraw approximately 200 M1A1 Abrams tanks from storage. This is a potential that the Pentagon has already offered. It is quite improbable that this military equipment will be transferred before 2023.

The T-72 tanks come from the Czech Republic, half of which have been modernized with US funds, while the other 45 have come from Holland. 

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion on February 24, Kyiv has asked NATO for new tanks, especially the western ones. 

Why can Ukraine not have M1A1 Abrams or German Leopard 2 tanks?

The use of Leopard 2 tanks is the only way that the Ukrainian military will have the ability to support offensive operations in the near future successfully. Other Western tanks, such as the French Leclerc and the British Challenger, are either no longer mass-produced, or there is no logistical infrastructure in place in Europe for them to support the American Abrams. As a result, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany are unable to supply tanks to Ukraine. As the owner of the production line, Germany has just one option available to it, which is to act unilaterally, but the country lacks the political will to do so.

Australian Army operates the M1A1 SA Abrams tank
Australian Army M1A1 SA Abrams tank. Image: Australian MoD

Europe had previously agreed to send the German battle tank to Ukraine, but now it has become an obstacle. It is not only about the conflict in Ukraine and providing assistance to Kyiv. Within the context of the European project, this pertains to strategic planning for the long term regarding joint acquisitions and projects, including weaponry.

M1A1 Abrams has no logistics infrastructure in Europe

The key problem for the Ukrainian military is the inability to operate American military armoured vehicles; therefore, instant deliveries of these weapons are impossible. As a result, it is impossible for them to get fast delivery of these weapons. On the other hand, if the Ukrainian military is permitted to receive instruction on how to operate M1A1 Abrams tanks, then it is possible that these tanks will be put into service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces as early as the next year.

At the same time, there is evidence that the American tanks that are being withdrawn from service are planned to be transferred not to Ukraine but rather to a number of European countries in order to ensure that Ukraine receives tanks that are more familiar to them, such as T-55, T-72, etc., which is more likely. This was done in order to ensure that Ukraine receives more familiar tanks.

The Americans have plans to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine. They may also send the staff of private military companies to Dnieper. 

According to some estimations, the delivery of American M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine under the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act could take place by the fall of this year. In addition, something resembling a military logistic base might be established somewhere behind the eastern border of Poland in order to refurbish and maintain the weaponry that is supplied by the United States. In the event that this takes place, it is expected that “private contractors,” often known as employees of military businesses, will be recruited from the United States.

It is possible that strengthening the Russian forces in the east and south will take up to two months. By this time, the United States hopes to have improved the armoured forces of the Ukrainian government. The primary reason for this decision is to help Ukrainians sustain their attack in the south while also protecting their victories in the east of the country. 

Definitely no leopard 2 Tanks for Ukraine

The social democrats in the German administration consider the economy to be one of the country’s strengths. As a result, the German government’s assistance to Ukraine naturally focuses on the economy. The new Marshall Plan, which is being supervised by Berlin, is based on the assumption that Kyiv will one day be a member of the collective West. However, when it comes to the military, and particularly when it comes to the procurement of Leopard 2 tanks, the federal government demonstrates that it is unprepared to take on a leading geopolitical role.  


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