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Ukrainians expected to finish Abrams tank training by end of summer

More shelling in Ukraine kills at least 6
At least 6 killed in overnight shelling in Ukraine 03:57

About 200 Ukrainians are expected to finish U.S.-led training on Abrams tanks by the end of summer, defense officials said Wednesday. 

The end of the training program will line up roughly with the expected fall delivery of the 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks the U.S. promised Ukraine earlier this year. Ukrainians are currently training in Germany with specifically-outfitted tanks as those 31 promised tanks go through refurbishment. 

The 200 Ukrainians are in week three of an expected 12-week training plan, according to two senior U.S. Army Europe and Africa officials. 

They are currently working in Germany on individual skills and then will progress to different unit skills, culminating in battalion level force on force training. 

Eleanor Watson

In total, the U.S. has trained more than 11,000 Ukrainians on a variety of platforms since February 2022. The U.S. is currently training about 1,700 Ukrainians, one of the officials said. 

The U.S. and allies combined have trained 57,000 Ukrainians, according to a Canadian defense official involved with international training efforts. 

There are about 6,000 Ukrainians currently training in 40 sites outside of Ukraine. This number is down from the peak earlier this year when about 12,000 Ukrainians were training at the different sites in March, this official said. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday visited U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden in Germany to meet with officials involved in the training and equipping of the Ukrainians. While there, he thanked Ukrainian and U.S. troops for their work coordinating support. 

"This doesn't end when the fight starts. Our work continues because we have to generate more combat power, train more troops and make sure the Ukrainians have what they need," Austin told a group of troops on Wednesday. 

One of the senior U.S. Army Europe and Africa officials said the U.S. is watching the opening days of Ukraine's counteroffensive as some of the U.S.-trained brigades enter the fight. The official said the U.S.  will note what changes could be made to the training program going forward, but it might take a longer time period to pinpoint specific lessons learned.

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