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A Ukrainian tank crew says the Abrams is still being used on the front lines, but isn’t finding ‘tank-on-tank’ battles where it has the edge

  • A Ukrainian tank crew told state media they’re still using the Abrams tank on the front lines.

  • The report comes after the Pentagon said Ukraine had pulled back its Abrams tanks over concerns of drone attacks.

  • A Ukrainian Abrams commander told Army TV that the tanks weren’t withdrawn but are used situationally.

A Ukrainian tank crew says the US-supplied Abrams is still viable on the front lines, but the tank-on-tank battles where it excels have been few and far between.

Pentagon officials in late April told the Associated Press that Ukraine was pulling back its Abrams tanks from the heaviest areas of fighting because Russian drones were making them more difficult to defend.

But a Ukrainian state media report is now pushing back on the assessment, citing the crew’s commander saying that Kyiv hadn’t fully withdrawn the heavy-duty armor.

“It all depends on the situation. You see, we don’t fight in a way that it’s purely tank-on-tank,” said the man, identified as Dmytro of the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade, told Ukrainian military news outlet Army TV. The outlet is run by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

“If it was tank-on-tank, there would be no questions. The T-72 wouldn’t even be standing next to it,” Dmytro said.

Dmytro added battlefield circumstances have become “very difficult” due to Russia’s advantage on the ground with personnel and equipment.

“So we have to adjust our actions. These tanks are designed primarily for direct contact. Go out and destroy the opponent’s vehicles,” Dmytro added.

Army TV on Tuesday uploaded a video of Dmytro and his crew. It was titled and captioned in English, standing out from the YouTube channel’s usual coverage in Ukrainian.

“WHERE IS UKRAINIAN ABRAMS: how the legendary American tank fights at the front,” its title reads. Clips in the video showed the tank crew operating an Abrams M1A1 at an undisclosed location.

Dmytro said his team had, in the last few days, deployed their Abrams to take out Russian infantry and equipment, including a T-62 tank that had been disabled by an exploding drone. It’s not immediately clear when the video was filmed.

The Pentagon’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours by Business Insider.

Army TV’s video was lavish with praise for the American battle tank, a much-desired ground asset for Kyiv, with a gunman named Koka and a driver named Alexey complimenting its maneuverability and internal systems.

The Abrams is touted as an effective tool against Soviet armor, with a winning track record against Russian-made vehicles, but has also faced challenges in Ukraine.

In late April, one anonymous defense official told the AP that Ukraine was not deploying the Abrams in combined arms warfare, though its crews had been trained for such scenarios.

At least five Abrams tanks have been reported lost in combat, with another three damaged.

The US promised in January 2023 to deliver 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, which received its first batch in September that year as part of the initial rounds of aid provided by the Biden administration.

A renewed tranche of supplies and weapons, which Ukraine says it desperately needed to defend its positions against Russia, was held back for months due to political infighting on Capitol Hill. Congress eventually voted through a $61 billion package to Ukraine.

Read the original article on Business Insider