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Britain To Send 14 Main Battle Tanks, Additional Weaponry To Ukraine
In a statement, the British prime minister's office said that a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks would arrive in the country in the coming weeks, followed by around 30 self-propelled AS90 guns operated by five gunners
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Britain would send 14 main battle tanks and additional artillery support to Ukraine, despite criticism from the Russian Embassy in London, according to the office of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's announcement on late Saturday.
In a statement, the British prime minister's office said that a squadron of 14 Challenger 2 tanks would arrive in the country in the coming weeks, followed by around 30 self-propelled AS90 guns operated by five gunners.
The UK will also begin training Ukrainian forces to use tanks and guns in the coming days.
“As the people of Ukraine enter their second year of living under relentless Russian bombardment, the Prime Minister is committed to ensuring Ukraine wins this war,” the prime minister's spokesperson said in a statement.
“With his closest military advisors, he has examined the military picture, considered the strategic impact of the UK's support and identified a window in which he believes the UK and its allies can have the greatest impact,” the statement added.
Sunak “outlined the UK's ambition to intensify our support to Ukraine, including through the provision of Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems” during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier on Saturday.
Sunak's office said earlier this week that Britain would coordinate its support with allies, following the announcements last week by Germany, France and the United States that they would provide armoured vehicles to Ukraine.
The office also said that the defence minister would provide an update to the British parliament on Monday regarding the security assistance.
The Russian Embassy in London said the decision to send the tanks would drag out the confrontation, leading to more victims including civilians, and was evidence of “the increasingly obvious involvement of London 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,” the embassy said, according to comments cited by the TASS news agency.
The Battle Tank
The Challenger 2 is a British Army battle tank that was designed to attack other tanks. It has been in service since 1994. According to the army, it has been deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq.
“The prime minister and President Zelenskiy welcomed other international commitments in this vein,” Sunak's spokesperson said.
In his nightly video address, published before the detailed British announcement, Zelenskiy called the expected assistance “important” for Ukraine's defence.
“It's exactly what's required, and I believe other partners will still make similar decisions to those who understand why such evil cannot be given a single chance,” Zelensky said.