US Congress approves sale to Poland of 250 Abrams tanks

The US Congress has approved the sale to Poland of 250 Abrams tanks, Poland's defence minister announced on Saturday morning.

Earlier, in mid-February, the US State Department greenlighted the sale to Poland of 250 Abrams M1A2 SEPv3 tanks, the vehicle's latest version.

The tanks, which come with an estimated purchase price of USD 6 billion, are part of a modernisation programme of the Polish armed forces.

"The Polish Army is strengthening! The US Congress has approved the sale of 250 Abrams tanks to Poland. This is the last important step before signing the contract for their purchase. This is the most important armaments contract in years," Mariusz Blaszczak, the Polish defence minister, wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

Later on Saturday, Blaszczak told a press conference that the tanks would be deployed in the eastern part of Poland, a part of Nato's eastern flank, to deter a potential attack.

"The Polish Army must be equipped with the most modern equipment so that what is happening with Ukraine does not happen to Poland, so that the aggressor knows that if he hits Poland, he will meet with a firm response," he said.

On Friday Blaszczak told a public television station that the tanks would be delivered to Poland "as soon as possible. He said that on Friday he had talked about it with the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.

The Polish government announced its plans to buy the American tanks last year, and Blaszczak said the first tranche would reach Poland in 2022.

The tanks are produced by the General Dynamics company at its factory in Lima, Ohio.