Photo by: ABC News

The United States appears poised to start a process that would eventually send dozens of its M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, US media reported, in a reversal that could have significant implications for Kyiv’s efforts to repel Russian forces.

The development prompted swift reaction from Russia’s ambassador to the United States, who said it would be a “blatant provocation”.

The move follows reports on Tuesday that Berlin has succumbed to huge international and domestic pressure and was set to announce that it will send German-manufactured tanks to Ukraine, and allow other countries to do the same.

An official US announcement that it will send just over 30 tanks is expected to come on Wednesday.

A decision by the United States to send the Abrams would come just days after Washington argued against sending the tanks , despite demands from Kyiv and public pressure from Berlin.

Ukraine says heavily armoured western battle tanks would give its troops more mobility and protection ahead of a new Russian offensive that Kyiv expects in the near future.