Ukraine on Wednesday (20/9) said a Russian drone strike overnight damaged an oil refinery in the Poltava region, in the center of the country.
Governor Dmytro Lunin said operations at the facility were temporarily suspended, and that there were no reports of casualties.
Serhiy Lysak, governor of Dnipropetrovsk, said Russia attacked Nikopol and three other areas, damaging five houses.
Meanwhile Ukraine’s military said its air defenses shot down 17 of the 24 drones Russia used in its attacks overnight.
Ukraine’s efforts to break through Russia’s defense lines will soon receive help from some long-awaited weapons, namely some 31 US-made M1 Abrams tanks first promised in January.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the delivery of the tanks Tuesday at a meeting of about 50 member countries of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany, and said the coalition “continues to do everything in its power to get Ukraine what it needs now.”
“This will add a formidable armored capability to join the German-made Leopard tanks already on the battlefield,” he continued.
Speaking separately, a defense official told reporters following Austin’s trip that US tanks were already in Europe and would start heading towards Ukraine in the coming days.
Ukrainian troops began training to operate M1 Abrams tanks in June. US military officials told VOA earlier this month that about 200 Ukrainian troops were still training in Germany to maintain their proficiency until the tanks were ready to be delivered.
US defense officials previously said the M1 Abrams tanks would be delivered in the fall.
In addition to the tanks, the US has also provided Ukraine with depleted uranium ammunition for the M1 Abrams – shells designed to destroy Soviet-made tanks, such as those deployed by Russia to the front lines in Ukraine.
And perhaps just as important, US defense officials say they have mechanisms in place to help Ukraine keep the tanks operational on the battlefield.
“We have built a much stronger sustainable structure to hand over to Ukraine,” said Douglas Bush, acting assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology at the US Army.
“We’ve done everything we can to set the conditions for a support structure in Europe where we will be able to get parts out and then help them repair battle damage and so on,” Bush told reporters on Tuesday, speaking from the Pentagon. “They received … more spare parts.” (uh/ab)