During Zelensky's visit to the White House on Thursday the only positive news Ukraine received was that it is about to imminently take possession of the US Abrams tanks which were long ago promised. Kiev has all along complained at the slowness of getting further advanced Western weapons systems.
"Next week, the first US Abrams tanks will be delivered in Ukraine," Biden said before reporters while sitting alongside Zelensky, who was on his second visit to the US since the war began.
But as Foreign Policy has pointed out, the tanks aren't really what Kiev is currently after. What wasn't approved are long-range missiles being discussed by the Biden administration, specifically the Army's ATACMS missiles.
A group of Ukrainian tank operators and their support crew reportedly wrapped up training by late August, and next week will see the first of 10 of these US-made battle tanks delivered. This is of the 31 total which were committed.
But so far other Western tanks, such as the UK Challenger II and Germany's Leopard, have made little discernable difference along the stalemated front lines. Russia has firm hold over much of the east, has dug it its positions, and established miles of deadly mine fields.
The initial ten tanks are being transferred from Germany, as Politico recently detailed:
Ten of the 70-ton tanks are currently in Germany undergoing final refurbishments, said the DOD official. Once that is complete, they will be shipped to Ukraine.
"The U.S. is committed to expedite delivery of the 31 tanks to Ukraine by the fall," said O’Donnell. He declined to provide a specific timeline.
Presumably after the first 10 arrive the remainder won't be far behind, but this also depends on how many of the Ukrainian tank crews have completed training.
Russian forces will certainly be on the lookout, and targeting the Abrams likely from the air, given recently at least one or more UK Challengers were destroyed, it was confirmed early this month. This was a first for the Challenger II, in its history of production, as British defense officials later conceded.