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Report: US Sends Abrams Battle Tanks to NATO Frontline Nation

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American-supplied M1 Abrams tanks have arrived at a NATO-built storage facility in Poland that could eventually equip an entire brigade, in what one military expert told Newsweek would send “a message to Russia.”

Citing the U.S. Army, Stars and Stripes reported that 14 of the main battle tanks and an M88 armored recovery vehicle had arrived at the NATO-funded Army Prepositioned Stocks storage facility in Powidz, about 250 miles west of the Polish border with Ukraine.

The report did not clarify whether the tanks would be transferred to Ukraine, where an estimated 31 Abrams tanks have already been deployed. But the APS depot in Poland is meant to bolster NATO’s defenses in Eastern Europe amid heightened tensions between the alliance and Russia due to President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Ray Wojcik, a retired U.S. Army colonel and senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, said the storage site would eventually have the full set of equipment for a U.S. Army armored brigade.

“This means, on very short notice, a full U.S. armored brigade complement of soldiers can be deployed to Poland by air and ready to fight in a few days or less, versus waiting 30 days or so for that equipment to arrive by ship,” he told Newsweek.

As the only U.S. Army APS site east of Berlin, this would send “a message to Russia,” Wojcik added. Newsweek has contacted the Pentagon for comment via email.

The Abrams that arrived at the APS site on Thursday cost about $10 million each and were among the big-ticket items in the U.S.’s package of military support to Ukraine. Kyiv had requested the tanks, whose size and complexity of supply chain sparked much debate before their arrival in 2023.

Footage shared on social media in March appeared to show an M1 Abrams in flames on the front line after a drone strike. At the time, Russian state media reported that Moscow’s forces had struck three of the tanks near Avdiivka, soon after its capture by Russia.

The APS depot in Powidz is set to be one of six active APS-2 worksites in Europe under the mission command of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade, which said the depot would eventually be stocked with hundreds of M1A2 tanks, M2 Bradley fighting vehicles and M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzers.

“Another part of the US Army’s contribution to deterrence and defense of NATO’s Eastern Flank,” Ben Hodges, a former commanding general of United States Army Europe, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “the equipment for an entire Armored Brigade, incl 85 M1 tanks, deployed into NATO storage site in Poland.”

Meanwhile, reports say the U.S. is preparing to announce a military aid package for Ukraine worth about $150 million, which is set to include new High Mobility Artillery Rocket System rockets, anti-armor weaponry, small arms and grenades.

The tranche of aid would also have 155 mm and 105 mm artillery shells, the Associated Press reported, citing unnamed sources. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that HAWK air defense interceptors would also be in the package, which is set to be unveiled

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