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Ukraine withdraws Abrams tanks from front line because of Russian drones – AP

Friday, 26 April 2024, 08:50
Ukraine withdraws Abrams tanks from front line because of Russian drones – AP
A tank. Stock photo: Getty Images

The Associated Press has learned that the Ukrainian Defence Forces have withdrawn US-supplied Abrams tanks from the front line because of the threat of attacks by Russian drones, while the Americans complain that the Ukrainians are not using the equipment more effectively.

Source: Associated Press with reference to US military officials

Quote: "Ukraine has sidelined US-provided Abrams M1A1 battle tanks for now in its fight against Russia, in part because Russian drone warfare has made it too difficult for them to operate without detection or coming under attack."


Details: The Associated Press reiterated that Kyiv persuaded the US to provide 31 tanks in January 2023 at a cost of US$10 million each, as they were "vital to its ability to breach Russian lines." But since then, five Abrams tanks have already been lost in the war.

The Associated Press noted that the use of drones has changed the situation on the battlefield, making it more difficult for Ukraine to defend tanks that are quickly detected and hunted by drones.

"The proliferation of drones on the Ukrainian battlefield means ‘there isn’t open ground that you can just drive across without fear of detection,’ a senior defence official told reporters Thursday," AP stressed.

Admiral Christopher Grady, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and another defence official said that tanks had now been withdrawn from the front line and the US would work with the Ukrainians to rethink tactics.

Grady said that with unmanned aerial vehicles everywhere, the threat to the use of armoured vehicles is obvious. But he said that "we’ll work with our Ukrainian partners, and other partners on the ground" to help Ukraine think through how armoured vehicles could be used "in that kind of changed environment now, where everything is seen immediately."

AP also noted that US defence officials said that "while drones are a significant threat, the Ukrainians also have not adopted tactics that could have made the tanks more effective."


  • The first Abrams tanks were delivered to Ukraine in September 2023.
  • Kyrylo Budanov, Head of Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, said that Ukraine would use the Abrams tanks for well-planned, breakthrough operations.
  • Before that, The New York Times reported that Russian forces had taken out five M1 Abrams main battle tanks out of 31 that were sent to Ukraine from the US last autumn. The NYT said that drones can be used to take out tanks. "The drone combat in Ukraine that is transforming modern warfare has begun taking a deadly toll on one of the most powerful symbols of American military might — the tank — and threatening to rewrite how it will be used in future conflicts," the NYT wrote.

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