Fact check: False claim US M1 Abrams tanks arrived in Ukraine

Fact check: False claim US M1 Abrams tanks arrived in Ukraine

The claim: US M1 Abrams tanks have arrived in UkraineA Feb. 12 Facebook video (direct link, archived link) shows a series of military weapons and personnel.

“US Abrams M1 Tank Is Already In Ukraine! Russians Are Fleeing In Panic!” reads the video’s caption.

The video was shared more than 90 times and viewed more than 80,000 times in a week.

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Our rating: FalseThe M1 Abrams tanks President Joe Biden said would be sent to Ukraine have not yet arrived. The vehicles will take several months to procure and deliver, according to a Defense Department spokesperson.

M1 Abrams tanks have not arrived in UkraineThe Abrams tanks committed to Ukraine will take several months to deliver, Lt. Col. Martin Meiners told USA TODAY on Feb. 17.

Biden announced Jan. 25 the U.S. will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine so its forces “will be better prepared for additional counter-offenses,” according to a Defense Department press release.

Many of the video clips featured in the post predate Biden’s announcement.

Fact check: False claim Biden said sending tanks to Ukraine would start world war

The first clip showing two tanks in a desert landscape appears in a Chinese-language video on YouTube posted in 2019. The sixth clip of a soldier holding a Ukrainian flag atop a tank was posted on Instagram in June 2022 by a Ukrainian radio station. The video at the 1:30 mark showing tanks on a forked road surrounded by trees was shared by a Russian news outlet in January before the U.S.’s announcement.

The video’s audio describes the technical capabilities of different weapons. It does not claim M1 Abrams tanks have arrived in Ukraine, nor does it provide evidence to support the claim.

The decision to supply Ukraine with M1 Abrams tanks drew widespread attention. Major news outlets, including The Guardian and The New York Times, described it as an escalation drawing the U.S. and its NATO allies closer to direct conflict with Russia.

USA TODAY has debunked numerous false claims about the war in Ukraine, including that Biden said sending tanks to Ukraine would start a world war, that the war is over and that U.S. aid to Ukraine is double the expenditure for Afghanistan War. 

USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the claim for comment.

Our fact-check sources:Martin Meiners, Feb. 17, Email interview with USA TODAYDepartment of Defense, Jan. 25, Biden Announces Abrams Tanks to be Delivered to UkraineThe Guardian, Jan. 25, US joins Germany in sending tanks to Ukraine as Biden hails ‘united’ effortThe New York Times, Jan. 25, How Biden Reluctantly Agreed to Send Tanks to UkraineLiberty Times Net (YouTube), July 10, 2019,「地表最強戰車」將登臺 美國批出售M1A2戰車Kiss FM Ukraine, June 24, 2022, Instagram postREN TV, Jan. 18, SZ: Шольц передаст Украине Leopard, если США дадут Германии AbramsThank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.



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