Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

Russian state media Rossiya-24 on Wednesday mocked Western modern tanks as “toothless” and “battered” after Germany and the United States greenlit deliveries of advanced combat vehicles to Ukraine.  

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s announcement that he will send Leopard 2 tanks was coupled with a pledge from US President Joe Biden that he will provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing the allies’ longstanding trepidation at providing Kyiv with offensive armored vehicles and unleashing powerful new tools in Ukraine’s efforts to retake territory seized by Russia. 

The series of stories broadcast on the Russian channel downplayed the significance of the modern Western tanks, including segments titled “Toothless cats” and “Battered Abrams” – sarcastic references to US- and German-made armored vehicles.  

A presenter described the German tanks being “more primitive,” heavier and less effective compared to Russian T-90 tanks. In the “battered Abrams” segment, footage of the Abrams vehicles being hit in battles were shown and a blueprint of the tank was shown illustrating its “weak points.” 

Key context: While the state media has made claims about the superiority of Russian battle tanks, hundreds are thought to have been destroyed since Moscow launched its offensive in Ukraine. Experts say a design flaw has caused problems for almost all of the armored vehicles Russia is using in Ukraine.

Biden yesterday called the Abrams “the most capable tanks in the world” while noting that Ukrainian troops will receive training to operate the “extremely complex” vehicles.

Previous military aid, like the American HIMARS rocket system, has been vital in helping Ukraine disrupt Russian advances and make a series of successful counteroffensives in recent months. Kyiv hopes that Western tanks will have a similar impact on the grinding ground war in Ukraine’s east.

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