The first US-made Abrams tanks have arrived in Ukraine months ahead of schedule, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Monday.
The tanks arrived in Ukraine in time to help the country’s ongoing counteroffensive against Russian forces, an effort whose window is closing due to the looming winter. Zelensky did not specify how many tanks, but the US is expected to deliver 31 of the vehicles within several weeks.
“Good news from Minister Umerov. Abrams is already in Ukraine and preparing to reinforce our brigades,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram.
Ukraine’s counterattack has been struggling to gain ground for months, with Russian defenses largely held strong across the country.
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The delivery came in response to Ukraine’s urgent requests for modern tanks earlier this year. European countries have already sent dozens of German-made Leopards and some British Challengers.
“I am grateful to our allies for fulfilling the agreements! We are looking for new contracts and expanding our supply geography,” added Zelensky.
Ukraine has carried out a series of attacks on key Russian targets in recent weeks, including the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
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The attack on the fleet was confirmed by Russia, which said Ukrainian forces used 10 cruise missiles and maritime drones to strike ships undergoing repairs in port and attack ships at sea, setting off fires that destroyed two warships and injured dozens, according to a report by NBC News.
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While it was unclear exactly what kind of missiles were used during the attack, Ukraine has shown an increasing ability in recent months to strike Russian naval targets. Since then, the country has received billions of dollars in aid from Western countries Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of the country last year, including advanced weapons that helped Ukraine fight back against Russian forces.
Reuters contributed to this report.