Ukraine withdraws Abrams tanks from front line to adapt to Russian UAV threat

American Abrams tanks
American Abrams tanks

Ukraine has temporarily withdrawn American Abrams tanks from the front line, in part because Russian drones have made their work too difficult, the Associated Press reported on April 26.

The United States agreed to send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in January 2023 following a lengthy campaign by Kyiv, arguing that the tanks were essential for defending against Russian aggression.

However, the battlefield dynamics have shifted significantly since then, partly due to Russia's extensive use of reconnaissance and attack drones. These drones have made it increasingly difficult for Ukraine to protect its tanks, as they can quickly detect and target them. According to the article, five tanks have already been lost to Russian attacks.

The proliferation of drones means that "there isn’t open ground that you can just drive across without fear of detection," a senior defense official told reporters on April 25.

Read also: Ukraine receives all promised Abrams tanks from US

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to provide an update on U.S. military support for Ukraine ahead of the Ramstein meeting on April 26.

Tanks have now been pulled back from the front line, and the United States will work with the Ukrainians to "reset tactics," said Admiral Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and another defense official.

Read also: Armored speed and firepower – American Abrams tanks could be a game-changer on Ukrainian frontlines

"When you think about the way the fight has evolved, massed armor in an environment where unmanned aerial systems are ubiquitous can be at risk," Grady told AP, stressing that tanks are still important.

"Now, there is a way to do it," he said.

“We’ll work with our Ukrainian partners, and other partners on the ground, to help them think through how they might use that, in that kind of changed environment now, where everything is seen immediately.”

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine