Ukraine Pulls Back as Russia Exploits Critical Tank Vulnerability

( – After making their combat debut in Ukraine in February, the U.S. M1A1 Abrams tanks are being pulled from the front lines as Russia exploits a critical vulnerability in the tanks.

In January 2023, the U.S. pledged to provide Ukraine with 31 tanks, which cost about $10 million per tank, as Ukraine argued the tanks were vital to succeeding in their fight against Russia. In September, the tanks arrived, debuting in combat on February 25th. However, on February 26th, the Russians destroyed the first tank, finding critical vulnerabilities in the tanks. Russia’s hunter-killer and surveillance drones can quickly detect and hunt the tanks, which has led to the destruction of five tanks.

Speaking on April 25th, a day before the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting, a senior defense official said that the use of drones means there is nowhere on the battlefield where Ukraine can drive the tanks “without fear of detection.” A group of 50 countries, the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meets monthly to assess the needs of Ukraine, identifying where weapons, ammunition, and maintenance can be found in order to keep Ukraine’s troops equipped on the battlefield.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Adm. Christopher Grady stated that Ukraine and the U.S. will work on resetting tactics because of the tank’s removal from the front lines. Though he is unsure how the tanks will be used going forward, Grady noted that the tanks still play a role in helping Ukraine fight against Russia.

The news of the tanks being pulled from the front lines comes as President Joe Biden signed a $1 billion military assistance package on April 24th that will provide Ukraine with armored vehicles, a variety of ammunition, such as artillery rounds and air defense munitions, and other weapons. On April 26th, Biden also announced that the U.S. would provide munitions for Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine as part of a $6 billion long-term military aid package.

Copyright 2024,