KYIV (Agencies): Ukraine has temporarily withdrawn the Abrams M1A1 battle tanks provided by the U.S. from the front lines in its conflict with Russia. This decision is largely due to the challenges posed by Russian drone warfare, which has made it increasingly difficult for the tanks to operate without being detected or attacked, according to U.S. military officials.

The U.S. had agreed to send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine in January 2023, following a vigorous campaign by Kyiv. The tanks, each costing about $10 million, were deemed crucial for Ukraine’s ability to breach Russian lines.

However, the dynamics of the battlefield have significantly changed since then, primarily due to the widespread use of Russian surveillance and hunter-killer drones. These drones have complicated Ukraine’s efforts to protect the tanks, which are quickly detected and targeted by Russian drones or rounds.

Five of the 31 tanks have already been lost to Russian attacks. The increasing presence of drones on the Ukrainian battlefield means that there is no open ground that can be traversed without the risk of detection, a senior defense official explained.

The official, who chose to remain anonymous, provided this update on U.S. weapons support for Ukraine ahead of Friday’s Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting.

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