A portion of the M2 Bradleys promised to Ukraine in January have arrived in the country, the Pentagon told The War Zone Tuesday morning.
“Yes, we can confirm that a portion of Bradleys have arrived,” Army Maj. Charlie Dietz, a Pentagon spokesman, told The War Zone. Though we have been asking the Pentagon for months about the Bradleys, the official confirmation came after the Ukrainian MoD on Monday tweeted out photos of the Bradleys painted in that nation’s digital camouflage. You can read our story on that revelation here.
Dietz would not say when they arrived or how many have arrived, deferring those questions to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry (MoD). The U.S. has promised 113 Bradleys to Ukraine, including 109 M2A2-ODS-SA variants and four BFIST versions.
It has been customary for the Pentagon to wait for Ukrainian officials to announce the delivery of weapons systems out of concern for operational security.
It is still unknown exactly when or where either of the photos of the painted-up M2s was taken. There had been several unconfirmed claims on social media in the past few weeks that the Bradleys were in Ukraine and on the battlefield.
Once they are in combat, the Bradleys will give Ukrainians an infantry fighting vehicle with a strong track record against Soviet armor.
"The Bradley has proven, and would likely prove again, to be a dangerous weapon against Soviet-era armor, much like it had during the Battle of 73 Easting, the invasion of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) as well as against Russia’s more modern tanks,” a veteran Bradley master gunner told The War Zone in January. You can read more about what the Bradley will bring to the table in our deep dive here.
The U.S. military has been training Ukrainian personnel to operate and maintain Bradleys at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany since at least February of this year. That same month, a commercial cargo ship, the ARC Integrity, arrived in that country carrying more than 60 Bradleys ultimately bound for Ukraine.
The Bradleys are part of a large number of tanks, other armored vehicles, howitzers, and other additional equipment being provided to Ukraine ahead of an expected counteroffensive likely to either attempt to directly liberate Crimea or at least cut off large portions of Russia's so-called land bridge across southern Ukraine. This offensive will likely take shape in the form of attacks southward in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, something we first discussed in December.
Regardless, Ukraine's fielding of Bradleys is a huge step forward in what has become a rapidly modernizing Ukrainian Army armored contingent.
Contact the author: email@example.com