The UK is to send Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems to Ukraine, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said after a call with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, BBC reported.
This makes the UK the first western nation to send tanks to Ukraine. The decision comes after a lengthy lobbying campaign by the war-torn nation’s leaders for ground assault vehicles to repel the Russian invasion.
Sunak did not state thd exact number of tanks, but yesterday the British tabloid The Sun reported that a group of four Challenger 2 tanks will be delivered immediately, with a further eight following shortly afterwards.
The move shows “the UK’s ambition to intensify support,” Sunak said.
Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy greeted the move, thanking “for the decisions that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but also send the right signal to other partners.”
Always strong support of the UK is now impenetrable and ready for challenges. In a conversation with the Prime Minister, @RishiSunak, I thanked for the decisions that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but also send the right signal to other partners.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 14, 2023
Ukraine has for months asked its allies to send battle tanks to help it fight back the Russian invasion.
Currently, five countries are ready to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks but wait for Germany’s permission.
In addition to Poland, which can send 14 tanks, and Finland, three more countries have privately said they are ready to transfer their Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, if Germany, as the manufacturer, agrees to this, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told.
Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi had earlier stated that Ukraine needs minimum 300 tanks to drive Russia back to pre-February 24 borders.
The British Army’s Challenger 2 is more than 20 years old, but it will still be the most modern tank the Ukrainians will field in battle.They’ll provide Ukrainian tank crews with better protection, and more accurate firepower.
The Challenger, built in the late 1990s, was originally designed to face Russian armour. But it’s rifled barrel means it uses different ammunition to NATO countries.