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Ukraine Considering Requesting Aging M1A1 Abrams From Australia

The Ukrainian government is considering asking Australia for its M1A1 Abrams tanks, which are due to be replaced by the M1A2 from next year.

A formal request for the 59 tanks is being finalized, Australia’s national broadcaster ABC reported, citing sources.

Kyiv urged Canberra to join an international tank coalition for Ukraine last year, and in May, it formally requested 14 of its aging Abrams along with training, according to the outlet.

Australia has not agreed to the request yet, the outlet added. Initial resistance came from the governing Labor party because it involves sending the tanks first to the US, a costly affair.

However, as things stand now, the tank’s maintenance can be done in Europe.

Abrams ‘Not on Agenda’

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Richard Marles said last month that Abrams tanks were “not on the agenda,” while insisting that Australia was continuously consulting with Ukraine about its military requirements.

“That is not on the agenda, what you’ve asked, but we will continue to be working closely with Ukraine, talking with them about how we can best support their needs,” ABC quoted him as saying.

“We are working with Ukraine very closely to make sure that we are providing practical assistance which is making a difference and we recently announced a 50 million Australian dollars ($33 million) contribution to the fund operated by the UK in support of Ukraine.”

Rejected Previous Request for Retired Helicopters

The Albanese government rejected a similar Ukrainian request for Australia’s retired Taipan helicopters in January, as it would have required “huge investment” to bring them back to flying condition.

The helicopter fleet was permanently grounded following an accident in July that killed four defense personnel.

Australia’s Assistance to Ukraine

Apart from the $33 million assistance, Australia provided aid worth 910 million Australian dollars ($575 million) to Ukraine by October, including counter-drone systems, Bushmaster vehicles, heavy artillery, critical ammunition, and contributions to the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund.

Additionally, the country has sanctioned over 100 Russian citizens and entities involved in the war.

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