The UK announced it would provide Kyiv Challenger 2 tanks, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the country after speaking with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the phone on Saturday.
‘Always strong support of the UK is now impermeable and ready for challenges,’ Mr. Zelensky wrote. I expressed my gratitude to the Prime Minister for his actions, saying that they would not only make us stronger on the field of war but would also convey the proper message to our allies.
The leaders discussed the condition of Russia’s conflict in Ukraine, where repeated Ukrainian wins are driving Russian soldiers back and exacerbating their military and morale problems, according to a No. 10 spokeswoman.
They agreed that now is the time to step up international military and diplomatic assistance for Ukraine.
The Prime Minister also said that the UK wanted to provide more Challenger 2 tanks and artillery systems to Ukraine as part of its increased assistance.
The Polish promise to send a company of Leopard tanks was one such foreign commitment that the Prime Minister and President Zelensky appreciated.
“The Prime Minister emphasized that he and the whole UK Government will be working intensely with international allies to give quickly the type of assistance which would enable Ukraine to exploit their advantage, win this war, and establish a permanent peace,” according to the statement.
Britain has now sent Ukraine military tanks for the first time in the conflict, and this will dramatically increase Western help.
The new tanks might help Ukraine reclaim Russian-occupied territory, and they come amid expectations that Zelensky would be able to launch a successful counteroffensive in the early spring.
In a speech to the Lithuanian parliament on Friday, Zelensky said that his nation needed “immediate choices from our whole anti-war alliance,” including the provision of tanks.
Additionally, the transfer of the tank squadron might be a crucial step in convincing Germany to provide its much desired Leopard II tanks.
There are more than 2,000 Leopard 2s in Europe, owned by armed forces in 13 other nations, but Berlin must give its approval before any German-made equipment can be transported back to Ukraine.
As part of the increased assistance, Ukraine will get a total of 12 Challenger 2 tanks from the United Kingdom. Four will be dispatched to the nation at first, followed by the deployment of eight more at a later time.
British military equipment’s pride and joy, the Challenger 2 tank has been in service for over 25 years. They have a 7.62mm chain gun and a 120mm rifled gun, and they weigh 62.5 tonnes.
The military of Ukraine has previously said that it needs around 300 tanks from allies in order to continue its combat operations and free the nation.
Colonel Hamish de Bretton Gordon, a former commander of the 1st Royal Tank Regiment, has previously said that the employment of western tanks may “tilt the balance” of the battle in favor of Ukraine.
Strategically, he argued, this gives [Russian President Vladimir] Putin a very clear message that nothing is off the table.
The Leopard II and Challenger 2 are contemporary tanks. They are significantly faster, more dependable, and better protected.
Russia stated earlier this week that the arrival of western tanks would not alter the direction of the conflict but would simply “deepen the pain of the Ukrainian people.”
In the moment, Russia is reliant on Cold War-era tanks.
But the Leopard II combat tanks, which Germany has not yet given, are at the top of Ukraine’s wish list.
Sébastien Lecornu, the minister of the French armed forces, said on Friday that the trucks will be sent to Ukraine “within two months.”
Poland and Finland, two other European countries that use Leopard II tanks, have stated their readiness to contribute them, although this needs Germany’s consent as the export license holder.
The Challenger 2 and Leopard II were created especially to compete against the same equipment that Ukraine is using.
In an effort to counteract any future Russian meddling in eastern Europe, a squadron of British Challenger 2 tanks has been on tour in Estonia this week. The tanks earlier performed well in the Iraq War in 2003 and the Bosnian War in 1994.
As part of a deal to help Ukraine, the UK handed over 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Poland last year, freeing up space for Poland to move its T-72 tanks from the Soviet period to Ukraine.
Andrzej Duda, the president of Poland, said on Wednesday while visiting the western Ukrainian city of Lviv that a company of Leopard tanks “would be handed over as part of coalition-building.” As he continued, “We want it to be a worldwide alliance,” he said that he desired that such a move be a part of a larger series of announcements.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Monday that while the country has no current intentions to transfer Ukraine its Leopard II tanks, such a move “cannot be ruled out” in the future.
Britain is willing to deploy tanks to Ukraine, according to Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who also promised that his country will “continue to develop our assistance” as Kiev gets ready to launch “the next phase of their self-defense.”
Labour said that it would back any decision to provide Ukraine Challenger 2 tanks, claiming that doing so would reassure Ukraine.
The shadow defense secretary, John Healey, however, said that “Ministers must go beyond ad hoc declarations and put out a strategy for military, economic, and diplomatic assistance until 2023 and beyond.”