Russia ‘Seizes’ Abrams Tank For The Very 1st Time; To Display US MBT As War Trophy At Moscow Exhibition

The first US-supplied M1 Abrams tank was evacuated by troops from the Russian military unit “Center” at the frontlines of the Avdiivka sector of Donbas, Alexander Savchuk, the group’s head of the press center, told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

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“Now, the fighters of the “Center” group have successfully evacuated the tank from the front. Soon, everyone will be able to see it at the exhibition on Poklonnaya Hill,” he said. The evacuation from Avdiivka is significant as the region has recently seen an intense battle and several Abrams losses.

The report noted that a German Leopard-2 MBT was similarly evacuated from Avdiivka in mid-April. The soldiers of the Central Military District also evacuated a damaged engineering machine of the M1150 Shredder, which is reportedly based on Abrams, earlier this week.

All the captured equipment will be displayed at an exhibition featuring an array of weapons and military equipment seized by the Russian military in Ukraine.

The exhibit, which will be held in Moscow’s Victory Park on Poklonnaya Gora, will open on May 1 and continue for a month. It will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to view a collection of military weapons from other nations.

The exposition will feature more than 30 examples of military hardware made in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Turkey, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, South Africa, Finland, Australia, Austria, and Ukraine.

Apart from the previously-mentioned Leopard, visitors will get to familiarize themselves with the German Marder IFV, the American Bradley IFV, the Swedish CV90 IFV, and the French AMX-10RC armored combat vehicle, as per Russian media reports.

The ‘war trophies’ will be prominently displayed on the square in front of the Victory Museum, organized into thematic zones with informative stands providing context and details about each piece. Large vehicles, small arms from foreign militaries, combat reports, maps, ideological literature, and equipment will all be on display.

Adding Abrams to this exhibition alongside its peers is significant as it represents the latest Russian gains from the battlefield. In less than two months, Russian forces have destroyed five Abrams and reportedly damaged at least three tanks deployed by Ukraine. This led the Russians to mock the Abrams’ invincibility, calling them “empty tin cans.”

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Ukraine has withdrawn the Abrams tanks, delivered by the US, back from the frontlines after losing them to Russian drone attacks. This makes the evacuation of Abrams by Russia from the warzone even more symbolic.

The proliferation of drones means “there isn’t open ground that you can just drive across without fear of detection,” Christopher Grady, the vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week. However, he also noted that the Abrams remained crucial and that the US and Ukraine would work out how to employ them most effectively. “There is a way to do it,” Grady emphasized.

The Abrams MBTs were delivered to Ukraine by the United States last year, triggering an angry response from Russia, which vowed a total destruction of these tanks. The EurAsian Times recently reported an elaborate mission undertaken by Russian troops to annihilate Abrams using First Person View (FPV) drones.

The obliteration of these expensive MBTs with cheap, expendable drones has rattled the Ukrainians, especially since it has a limited number of these tanks.

A destroyed Abrams tank.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently said the Russian military has successfully refuted the idea that Western weapons are superior. He further asserted that Russian forces currently maintain the upper hand along the frontline, advancing relentlessly against Ukrainian forces that are outnumbered and outgunned.

“Our high combat potential enables us to continuously unleash fire on the enemy, preventing them from maintaining defensive positions,” he stated.

The seizure of the Abrams would allow Russia to study the combat-hardened tank. Military analysts noted that the equipment seized by Russia will be used for reverse engineering and studying military secrets.

Earlier this month, Russia’s state arms manufacturer notified that it was developing a new line of upgraded tank shells based on the study of captured Western armored vehicles.

Rostec, the Russian state-owned defense conglomerate headquartered in Moscow, has reportedly decided to produce new ammunition to counter the tanks developed by Russia’s adversaries. “Rostec will create a new ammunition, which will multiply their efforts by zero,” said Bekhan Ozdoev, the industrial director of the Russian state corporation.

It is a common procedure to develop countermeasures after examining the equipment gathered from the combat zone. The head of Rostec pointed out that if the Russians were to seize this state-of-the-art Western war equipment, they would be able to create tank shells that could easily penetrate these tanks and armored vehicles, should the enemy decide to use them.

For now, the parading and exhibition of captured Abrams tanks appears to be symbolic, especially in the wake of additional military aid coming Ukraine’s way and Russia’s theory that these weapons are not going to win Ukraine the war against Russia.