Even before U.S. President Joe Biden officially announced that thirty-one M1 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) would be supplied to aid Ukraine, ahead of an expected Russian offensive, Moscow had already dismissed their capabilities.
The tanks are likely to be destroyed, said one official.
M1 Abrams Makes Russia Mad
“These tanks will go up in flames like all the rest,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday. Peskov further suggested that due to Western policies, “the situation in Europe and the world is indeed very, very tense.”
Peskov also maintained that as long as the West continues to aid Kyiv, there is almost no prospect of a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
The plan by the United States to deliver M1 Abrams followed the announcement from Germany that it would send a number of Leopard 2 MBTs, and allow those from other NATO operators to also send the German-made tanks to Ukraine.
The effort to strengthen Ukraine’s fighting capacity was doomed to fail and would only cause NATO problems, Peskov maintained.
“This is a clear overestimation of the potential they give to the Ukrainian armed forces,” he explained and further said that the West is mistaken if it believes that European security can be achieved by strengthening the Ukrainian army and continuing the war.
“This is an absurd belief, this is a dead end,” Peskov said.
Russia Sending More Tanks As Well
The timing of Peskov’s statement is almost ironic as it coincided with news that Moscow has been weighing whether to deploy its new T-14 Armata MBT to the front lines in Ukraine.
However, according to recent British Ministry of Defence (MoD) analysis, such a move is seen as “high-risk” for the Kremlin.
It cited reports that Russian commanders are unlikely to trust the still largely unproven tank, while “the first tranche of T-14 allocated” to Russian troops “were in such poor conditions.” The MoD didn’t pinpoint the exact issues but suggested it could be engines, as well as the thermal imaging systems.
The T-14 Armata, which was first revealed in 2015 during the Red Square Victory Day Parade, was field tested in Syria, but it has not been deployed to the fighting in Ukraine. In 2021, Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu said that the initial “pilot batch” would be deployed to troops in 2022.
Few were actually rolled out, however.
The tanks are considered to be the most advanced built to date in Russia.
They feature a fully automated, digitized, and remotely-operated turret, while the three-man crew is housed in a crew compartment within the hull. The tanks are still largely unproven, especially in tank vs. tank combat.
Though it could be an opportunity for Russia to prove the Armata is truly the best and most capable tank, it would be a serious embarrassment for the Kremlin should Ukraine employ the Cold War-era Western MBTs and destroy the “best” Moscow has to offer.
Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.