Status: 25/09/2023, 22:29 p.m.
An Abrams tank of the US Army: In the future, soldiers in Ukraine will also fight with these tanks. © Matthias Merz/dpa
Ukraine is receiving further weapons aid for its offensive to recapture the occupied territories - Abrams tanks have now arrived from the USA. Zelensky, meanwhile, is already looking to the future.
Kyiv - After handing over the first US Abrams-type tanks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed confidence in receiving further long-awaited military aid.
"We are also working to get all the other military capabilities we need," Zelenskyy said in his evening video address. These included F-16 fighter jets, anti-aircraft systems and long-range weapons. "In order to cover our entire national territory, we need more systems than we currently have," Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine hopes, among other things, for Taurus cruise missiles from Germany. So far, however, there has been no commitment from Berlin. In addition, it is important for his country to increasingly produce weapons and anti-aircraft defense itself, Zelensky said.
Earlier in the day, the head of state announced that the first Abrams tanks had arrived in Ukraine. In total, the United States has announced the transfer of 31 main battle tanks to the country attacked by Russia. The tanks are a "significant reinforcement" for Ukraine, Zelensky said.
$ 43,9 billion for Ukraine
Since the beginning of the war, US military aid to Ukraine amounts to $43.9 billion, according to government figures. Most recently, weapons and equipment worth 128 million dollars (around 120 million euros) from US military stocks were newly approved. ATACMS missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers, which have long been demanded from Kyiv, were not included.
Ukraine's Western allies had long struggled to supply battle tanks. The U.S. announcement finally came at the end of January in parallel with Germany's commitment to Leopard tanks.
Initially, the U.S. government had argued that it did not consider the provision of this main battle tank to be useful for various practical reasons. In the end, however, Washington surprisingly reversed course. Ukrainian soldiers were trained at the Abrams at the US military training area in Grafenwoehr, Bavaria.
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Ukrainian offensive since June
Ukraine has been fending off a Russian war of aggression for 19 months. In doing so, it is massively dependent on Western financial and military aid. Last year, the Ukrainian military managed to stop the Russian army in front of Kyiv and later also to force the Russians to retreat in the northeastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv and in the Black Sea region of Kherson.
Since June, another offensive by the Ukrainians has been underway with the aim of liberating further areas, especially in the south, and driving a wedge between the Russian occupying troops stationed there. So far, this offensive has been slow.
Western military observers attribute this to a massive mining of the site by Russian troops. However, the Ukrainians have now broken through this first defensive wall at least in one place, they say. The tanks are intended to be able to advance as quickly as possible after overcoming the minefields in order to conquer further terrain. Dpa