The United States will begin training Ukrainian forces on how to use and maintain Abrams tanks in the coming weeks, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Friday, AP has reported.
According to the officials, 31 tanks will arrive at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany at the end of May, and the troops will begin training a couple weeks later. Officials said the troop training will last about 10 weeks. The training tanks will not be the ones given to Ukraine for use in the war against Russia. Instead, 31 M1A1 battle tanks are being refurbished in the United States, and those will go to the frontlines when they are ready.
The US goal has been to have the Ukrainian troops trained by the time the refurbished Abrams tanks are ready so they can then immediately move to combat. The tanks are being refitted to meet Ukraine’s needs.
According to officials, about 250 Ukrainian troops will be trained — with some learning to operate the tanks and others learning to repair and maintain them. Additional training on how to fight and maneuver with the tanks could also be provided after the initial 10 weeks.
So far, the United States has trained 8,800 Ukrainian troops who have already returned to the battlefield, and an additional roughly 2,500 are in training now. Their training has included everything from basic weapons instruction to how to conduct combat operations and maintain and repair equipment.