On Saturday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak committed to giving Ukraine tanks and artillery systems in response to the intensifying missile attacks launched by Russia against the capital of Ukraine and other areas of the country. During a phone call, Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the commitment.
In the following weeks, the United Kingdom will deliver 14 Challenger 2 tanks, and then shortly after that, they will deliver approximately 30 AS-90 self-propelled guns.
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Defense, the United Kingdom has played host to the training of hundreds of Ukrainian service members over the past half year. Within the next several days, the United Kingdom will start providing instruction to the Ukrainian Armed Forces on how to operate tanks and guns.
After Ukrainian gains forced Russian soldiers to retreat, a representative for Downing Street indicated that the two leaders discussed the necessity of capitalising on this opportunity and came to the same conclusion.
Even though Ukraine has been asking for heavier tanks like the American Abrams and the German Leopard 2 tanks for a very long time, Western countries have been hesitant to provide the country with such weapons.
The United Kingdom is the first Western nation to give Ukraine main combat tanks, and it did so earlier this year.
According to Downing Street, Sunak believes that a protracted war that remains static will only serve to further Russia’s goals.
According to a retired British air vice-marshal named Sean Bell, the projected offensive that will take place in the spring will be aided by tanks built in foreign countries, specifically the anticipated British Challenger 2.
According to Bell’s observation on Sky News, for Ukraine to win the war that Russia has unleashed, it will need to go on the offensive. Tanks will be essential if Ukraine goes ahead and launches an attack this spring.
In addition, he stressed the possibility that German tanks would also arrive on the front. He believes that Germany should be encouraged to provide its tanks by the choice Britain has made to furnish its tanks. However, Bell points out that it will take significant time to train military personnel to operate this big machinery.
Germany has not yet decided on sending Leopard 2 tanks
Due to the small number of tanks supplied by the United Kingdom and other nations, it is possible that Germany may not be compelled to supply the tanks in huge quantities even though Germany is the only European nation that makes battle tanks. Leopard 2 tanks are now in service with several European nations, including but not limited to Germany, Poland, Denmark, Finland, Spain, and Greece.
Although Germany has yet to receive an official request, Poland plans to deploy a company of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on January 9th that he was convinced of the necessity to coordinate arms sales to Ukraine with partners. However, a German government official said on January 11th that it was unaware of any requests from its allies to supply Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.
On January 12th, Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck stated that Germany should not stand in the way if Poland transfers Leopard 2 combat tanks to Ukraine, putting the onus on Warsaw to provide Kyiv with Western tanks. This statement was made in response to a question about whether or not Germany should allow Poland to transfer tanks to Ukraine. The Polish Leopard 2PL tank is a modernised variant of the German Leopard 2A4 tank that Poland purchased in the early 2000s. Leopard 2A4 is an outdated tank that cannot be compared to anything, not even the Russian T-72B. When it takes damage, the turret of the Leopard 2A4 can detach from the chassis, just like on the T-72 tanks.
The presidents of the Lublin Triangle, Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, Andrzej Duda of Poland, and Gitanas Nausda of Lithuania, recently met in Lviv and signed a joint declaration. As a member of this international alliance, Poland agreed to contribute the first Leopard tank company package. The Lublin Triangle is a trilateral cooperation structure between Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine founded in 2020. Its purpose is to increase political, economic, and social cooperation between the nations and to promote Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic goals.
Challenger 2 – what kind of tank is it?
The main battle tank used by the British Army is the Challenger 2. Since 1994, it has been used by the British Army in various roles and capacities.
It is a strongly armoured tank, with the turret and the hull being protected by second-generation Chobham armour, also known as the Dorchester. The specifics of this armour remain top secret.
The United Kingdom has 227 Challenger 2 tanks, but many of them are unsuitable for combat. The 14 being sent to Kyiv will come with ammunition, replacement components, and the capability to maintain them. It entered service in 1994 and is armed with a 7.62mm chain gun and a 120mm rifled gun.