Russian State TV Releases Video Trashing U.S. Abrams Tanks

Moscow may have condemned the U.S. pledge to give Ukraine 31 M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks (MBT) but one Kremlin propaganda media outlet has responded to the announcement by simply disparaging them.

The Kremlin has said that the U.S. provision of the tanks amounted to "direct involvement" in the war in Ukraine, but a segment on the state channel Russia 1 questioned whether the Abrams would be of any use at all.

Following the theme pushed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said that the Abrams "would burn up just like all the others", the channel poured scorn on the tanks and their potential to make a difference on the battlefield.

 M1A2 Abrams battle tank
A U.S. Army soldier signals the way to a M1A2 Abrams battle tank at the Baltic Container Terminal in Gdynia, Poland on December 3, 2022. The U.S. has announced it would supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine's forces to fight Russian aggression. MATEUSZ SLODKOWSKI/Getty Images

The VT's narrator described how the Abrams were used by Saudi Arabia during the civil war in Yemen where they had suffered "grave losses." Next to images of unspecified explosions, the narrator said that tanks had been gunned down by Soviet artillery rocket systems and had vulnerabilities to modern weapons.

He then said that Russian T-90 tanks had a better firing range than Abrams and was also "significantly lighter and cheaper than the American vehicles."

The narrator also noted how Western media were reporting that Russia would use in battle its latest T-14 Armata tanks, although British defense officials have said that these vehicles have been dogged by technical problems and many were in "poor condition."

But the Russian narrator gave props to the Armatas, saying they are "hi-tech vehicles with complex sensors, data transmitters and on-board drones."

The clip was tweeted on Saturday by Anton Gerashchenko, Ukraine's internal affairs ministry adviser. In mocking the segment's comparison of the tanks, Gerashchenko wrote: "'Russian tanks are so much better than Abrams tanks!'", Russian propaganda received a new task."

The U.S. delivery of the Abrams is part of a Western pledge to help Ukraine with tanks, with Germany announcing it would give Kyiv Leopard 2s and the United Kingdom giving 14 Challenger 2 vehicles.

The Abrams require jet fuel and U.S. Army (retired) Colonel Michael Linick, analyst at the think tank RAND Corporation, told that the U.S. tank will need a separate fuel logistics line not required for Leopards and Challenger 2s.

They have also been described by President Joe Biden as "extremely complex to operate and maintain," meaning the U.S. will need to provide additional training and maintenance.

Former British military intelligence officer Philip Ingram said that an issue for the Abrams will be the logistics chain, including its spare parts and different ammunition. "All their electronic and optical systems are different so the tech maintenance requirement is massive but that will have been planned as part of the packages," he told Newsweek.

Newsweek has contacted the Pentagon for comment.