WASHINGTON, January 25. /TASS/. The Russian armed forces will destroy US-made M1 Abrams tanks and other NATO military equipment if they are supplied to Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said.
"Throughout the Ukrainian crisis, the administration repeatedly used the technique of publishing information in the media on the eve of significant deliveries of weapons and equipment to the Kiev regime. An analysis of the entire sequence of Washington's actions shows that the Americans are constantly raising the ‘bar’ of military assistance to their puppet government. This is especially clear when the Russian Armed Forces gain new victories and confidently liberate the territory of Russia from the Nazi threat," the ambassador said, when asked to comment on the planned delivery.
"If a decision to transfer to Kiev M1 Abrams is made, American tanks without any doubt will be destroyed as all other samples of NATO military equipment," he continued. "Obviously, Washington is deliberately trying to inflict strategic defeat on us."
In his words, the Washington administration is giving "green light" for using US assistance to attack Crimea and "covers crimes committed by radicals against population of Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions."
"A growing number of officials and experts in America admit: it is all about U.S. "proxy-war" with our country," Antonov said.
He described the possible delivery of tanks to the Kiev government as "another blatant provocation" against Russia.
"If the United States decides to supply tanks, it will be impossible to justify such step using arguments about "defensive weapons". This would be another blatant provocation against the Russian Federation. No one should have illusions about who is real aggressor in the current conflict," the Russian diplomat said.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday citing US officials that the US Administration is inclined to ship a significant number of M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, adding that the announcement of these shipments could be made this week already. According to the WSJ, this step would become a part of the agreement with Germany, which includes shipment of a small number of Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev by Berlin itself, as well as Germany’s approval of shipment of these German-made tanks by Poland and other countries.
Later in the day, the Politico newspaper reported citing US administration sources that the United States may send at least 30 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine as military aid. Two sources told the paper that an announcement on the subject may be made later this week. The report says the equipment will be purchased from contractors rather than drawn from existing US stockpiles.