The Ukrainian war effort was aided by the arrival of US Abrams tanks while Ukraine claims the Russian fleet commander was killed

the first American made Abrams tanks It is now launching on Ukrainian territory, where Ukrainian forces claim to have dealt a heavy blow to the leadership of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky He confirmed the tanks’ arrival on the messaging app Telegram: “Good news from Minister (Defense Rustam) Umarov. Abrams is already in Ukraine and is being prepared to reinforce our brigades.”

The number of tanks delivered was not specified.

It is the first of 31 M1 Abrams tanks promised by the Biden administration, and comes months earlier than initial estimates. They join tanks already deployed by NATO partners, including German-made Leopards and the British Challengers, who arrived last spring.

They are the latest Heavy weapons sent by the United States While Ukraine continues to launch a punitive counterattack to penetrate the defenses in the territory controlled by Russia in the south and east of the country.

An Australian Army M1A1 Abrams main battle tank fires a shot at a target during a live-fire demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Base north of Melbourne on May 9, 2019.

William West/AFP via Getty Images

It is a battle that has been costly for both sides of the war – not just in terms of equipment but in terms of staggering troop losses – without significant advances on the ground by Ukrainian forces.

Russia’s latest loss is the commander of its Black Sea fleet in an attack on its headquarters, Ukrainian special operations forces have claimed In occupied Crimea Friday.

Officials claim that Commander Viktor Sokolov was killed along with 33 other senior officers.

At the Pentagon, a US official said that although there was no conclusive confirmation of Sokolov’s death, it appeared that the fleet commander had been killed, CBS News’ David Martin reported.

So far, there has been no response from Moscow regarding this allegation. But, if true, it would be a major blow to the Russian war machine – not just the killing of one of the country’s top officers, but one of the boldest attacks yet on Russian-occupied territory far from the battlefields of Ukraine itself. .

As for Abrams tanks, Washington has been reluctant to send them to the battlefields of Ukraine amid fears that the move would escalate tensions with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

And after American officials He assured Martin The Biden administration promised Zelensky the delivery of long-range missiles equipped with cluster munitions, known as ATACMS – Army Tactical Missile Systems. It has a range of up to 190 miles and can be launched from HIMARS mobile rocket launchers already used by the Ukrainian military.

The missiles would allow Ukraine to strike Russian supply lines and command centers outside the front lines, a type of access the military has already proven capable of achieving.

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