Russia Destroys the 1st American Tank in the Ukraine War February 26, 2024 World

Sao Paulo

Ukraine has lost for the first time one of 31 M1A1 Abrams heavy tanks sent by the United States to support the war effort against Russia. The model had never before been destroyed by enemy fire.

In the context of the Ukrainian war, which ended its second year on Saturday (24), the loss is more symbolic. The Abrams donated by Washington is an older version of the armored vehicle, the most powerful of its kind in the world, and the numbers are tiny.

Dutch open information monitoring site Oryx counts 2,479 missing Russian tanks, which matches the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) estimate of around 3,000. This corresponds to their active fleet before the war, but is not an easy calculation as the Russians have fielded many older armored vehicles from their vast inventory.

According to the website, Ukrainians lost 749 of this type of armored vehicles. From external aid they received 230 Soviet T72s from Poland in the first year of the war and an uncertain number later, the promise of almost 100 German Leopards of various models, 14 British Challenger2s and the Abrams.

Three dozen Leopards were lost, as was at least one Challenger2. Abrams embodies the symbolism of Americanness and the aura of relative invincibility, considering that the US has so far claimed to have destroyed only nine units, either by friendly fire or intentionally, in the first Gulf War (1991).

The Abrams was destroyed near the new front line in eastern Donetsk after the Russians captured strategic Aviivka the weekend before last. It is not clear where the image of the armored vehicle in flames with exploded reactive protection came from.

The image has been georeferenced by websites specializing in cataloging public information and, of course, widely shared by Russian military blogs.

At the end of the year, another Abrams was filmed lying abandoned on a road, but it showed no obvious signs of damage suggesting dry damage, given the model's enormous fuel consumption, which runs like the Russian T80 with one Turbine.

Aside from being heavy for some terrain, its heavy engine was one of the American arguments against shipping. Eventually, in October last year, the tanks arrived for the Kiev forces, but there was little to be seen at the front, not least because casualties would be inevitable in an intense war of attrition like this and bad propaganda prevailed.

The tank in Ukrainian service has a 120 mm cannon and can transport four soldiers up to 450 km. It has been the mainstay of American wars since the 1980s, such as in the Gulf, Afghanistan (200121), and Iraq (200311). Saudi Arabia used tanks in the Yemeni civil war, Iraq against the Islamic State.

This Monday (26), Moscow and Kiev confirmed the capture of another small town west of Avdiivka by Vladimir Putin's troops, which have pursued a stable line between proKremlin separatists and Ukraine since the 2014 civil war.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said on Monday that the losses in the east were due to the anemia of his country's armed forces. Above all, he called for more ammunition, a vital item that was in short supply at several points along the front.

Leopard tank operators reported in several reports over the two years of the war that they were sometimes only able to use their armored vehicles in combat for less than ten minutes because they had no projectiles available to fire them.