- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Zelensky Admits Abrams Tanks Toothless on Battlefield, Seeks Scores of F-16s

© Photo : Ministry of Defense of the Russian FederationAn American Abrams M1 tank destroyed in the special military operation zone
An American Abrams M1 tank destroyed in the special military operation zone - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.07.2024
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said during his remarks on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington that it is unlikely that the 31 US-supplied Abrams tanks made much of a difference on the battlefield in Ukraine.
"I'm not sure that such a number of tanks can change the situation in the battle," Zelensky said on Tuesday.
In May, CNN reported, citing Ukrainian crews maintaining the M1 Abrams tanks supplied by the United States, that there were numerous issues with using the armored vehicles on the battlefield.
The crews said that the $10 million vehicles did not have sufficient armor against modern weapons such as drones, thus failing to adequately protect personnel against attacks. One member said the tanks had become Russian forces’ "number one target."
Russian drone operator tells his story  - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.06.2024
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Watch Russian Drone Hunt Down Abrams Tank
They also reportedly said that the tanks appeared to have technical issues; for example, condensation affected electronic components. They noted that the tanks were not suitable for Ukraine’s situation, given that air power and artillery, which Ukrainian forces lack, help clear the battlefield before tanks and troops advance.
The Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly reported the destruction of Abrams tanks in the special operation zone.

Ukraine Needs 16 'Immediately'

Urging Western leaders to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, Zelensky emphasized that Kiev needs them immediately.
"So, till the moment, when we will have 128 jets, we will not compare with them [Russia] in the sky. Anyway, it will be difficult," Zelenskyy said on Tuesday.
As of May, Ukraine's allies in the West have committed to providing some 85 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, but the timeline for some of those deliveries is unclear.
In June, Politico reported, citing US and NATO officials, that Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium planned to deliver more than 60 US-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine this summer, but Ukraine would not have a full squadron of trained pilots until the end of 2025. Only 20 Ukrainian F-16 pilots are reportedly expected to finish the training by the end of 2024, which is half of the staff needed to operate a squadron of 20 aircraft.
Ukraine wants the United States to train more Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 fighter jets, but there is currently no room to accept more pilots into the training program, according to US officials.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last year that Russia would consider the delivery of nuclear-capable F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine as a deliberate signaling action by NATO in the nuclear sphere.
A US Air Force F-16 fighter takes off during the Blue Flag multinational air defence exercise at the Ovda air force base, north of the Israeli city of Eilat, on October 24, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.06.2024
'Training' for Ukrainian F-16 Pilots 'Pretty Meager’, Media Reports
The Kremlin has consistently warned against continued arms deliveries to Kiev since the start of Russia's military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, saying it would lead to further escalation of the conflict. In April 2022, Russia sent a diplomatic note to all NATO countries on the issue of arms supplies to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that any cargo containing weapons for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russian strikes.
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