Britain to send 14 of its main battle tanks, more weaponry to Ukraine

Britain to send 14 of its main battle tanks, more weaponry to Ukraine

LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said late on Saturday that Britain would send 14 of its main battle tanks along with additional artillery support to Ukraine, defying criticism from the Russian Embassy in London.

A squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks will enter the country in the coming weeks, and around 30 AS90 self-propelled guns, operated by five gunners, are expected to follow, the British prime minister’s office said in a statement.

The UK will also begin training Ukrainian forces to use tanks and weapons in the coming days.

“As the people of Ukraine approach their second year of living under relentless Russian bombing, the prime minister is committed to ensuring that Ukraine wins this war,” a spokesman for the prime minister said in a statement.

Alongside his closest military advisers, he has analyzed the military picture, looked at the strategic impact of UK support and identified a window where he thinks the UK and its allies can have maximum impact.

The announcement follows a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier on Saturday, during which Sunak “outlined the UK’s ambition to intensify our support for Ukraine, including the provision of Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems”.

Sunak’s office said earlier this week that Britain would coordinate its support with allies after Germany, France and the United States all indicated last week that they would provide armored vehicles to Ukraine.

The office also said the defense secretary would update the British parliament with details of the security support on Monday.

The Russian embassy in London said the decision to send tanks would drag out the confrontation, lead to more casualties including civilians and was evidence of London’s “increasingly visible involvement in the conflict”.

“As for the Challenger 2 tanks, they are unlikely to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine turn the tide on the battlefield, but they will become a major legitimate target for Russian artillery,” the embassy said, according to comments cited by TASS. news agency.


The Challenger 2 is a battle tank designed to attack other tanks and has been in service with the British Army since 1994. It has been deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq, according to the military.

“Prime Minister and President Zelenskiy welcomed other international commitments in this regard, including Poland’s offer to provide a company of Leopard tanks,” Sunak’s spokesman said.

Zelenskiy, in his overnight video speech released before the detailed British announcement, called the expected aid “important” for Ukraine’s defense.

“It’s really what’s needed,” Zelenskiy said. “And I believe that similar decisions will still be made by other partners – those who understand why such an evil cannot be given a single chance.”

Reporting by Michael Holden and Lidia Kelly; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Angus MacSwan, Tomasz Janowski and Deepa Babington

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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