Soviet-made tanks headed to Ukraine, courtesy of U.S. and allies

Soviet tank displayed in Kyiv
Soviet tank displayed in Kyiv Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The U.S. and allies will work together to transfer Soviet-made tanks to Ukrainian forces for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, The New York Times reported Friday.

A U.S. official told the Times the tanks will enable Ukraine's military to conduct long-range artillery strikes on Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, suggesting that self-propelled artillery vehicles — which bear some resemblance to tanks — are also being sent.

The official was unable to say how many tanks were being sent or which allies would be providing them. Ukrainian troops already know how to operate Soviet-made vehicles.

A $300 million military aid package the U.S. announced Friday also includes "armored off-road vehicles" for Ukraine's military, NBC News reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been persistent in imploring NATO to help Ukraine neutralize Russia's advantage in the air — whether by implementing a no-fly zone or by sending Ukraine fighter jets — but has also asked for armored ground vehicles.

Last week, he asked NATO for "1 percent" of the alliance's tanks and aircraft and said Ukrainian forces did not have "a sufficient number of tanks, other armored vehicles, and ... aircraft" to "break the blockade in Mariupol." Ukraine launched several successful counterattacks that recaptured territory around Kyiv late last month. Zelensky's comments suggest that, armed with additional tanks, Ukrainian forces could carry their counteroffensive even farther.

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