UK confirms plans to give tanks to Ukraine
The United Kingdom reveals that it is actually planning to send tanks to Ukraine after unconfirmed reports came out about the matter.
The United Kingdom government on Wednesday confirmed that it was planning on providing Ukraine with tanks, a Downing Street spokesperson told the Financial Times.
"We are accelerating our support to Ukraine with the kind of next-generation military technology that will help to win this war," the spokesperson said. "It is clear that battle tanks could provide a game-changing capability to the Ukrainians."
Polish President Andrzej Duda said earlier at a press conference in Lvov that Poland would transfer a company of Leopard tanks to Ukraine as part of an international coalition.
"A company of Leopard tanks will be transferred within the framework of the international coalition. Poland already made such a decision," Duda said, as broadcast by Polish television.
The President underlined that Warsaw must check tick various boxes to ensure that requirements are met before it transfers the tanks to Kiev.
"Some formal requirements, consents, and so on must be met. We want this to be an international coalition and we decided to invest in this international coalition the first package — a company of Leopard tanks," Duda noted.
Poland has been a major supporter of Kiev, delivering more than 240 T-72s to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesman said on Tuesday that London had not made a final decision on the possibility of delivering Challenger 2 to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Sky News reported Monday that the United Kingdom, according to a source familiar with the matter, might be supplying Ukraine with Challenger 2, the British Army's main tank, and there have been talks about the affair for the past two weeks
If the United Kingdom fulfills the requests of the Ukrainian authorities, this would make London the first western power to have responded to Kiev's demands to be supplied with key tanks from the West. This could be a domino effect that would lead other NATO allies to supply Ukraine with tanks.
The Contact Group, a US-led mechanism of 50 nations pumping arms into Ukraine, is set on holding its next meeting on January 20. This upcoming meeting could see London announcing the support in the form of tanks that it is intending to send to Ukraine.
This aid package could include around 10 Challenger 2 tanks, which would be enough to arm an entire squadron, one source told Sky News.
This comes days after the Pentagon announced that the latest military assistance package for Ukraine worth $3.75 billion includes 50 Bradley fighting vehicles, 500 TOW anti-tank missiles, and 250,000 rounds of 22mm ammunition.
According to US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasian Affairs Laura Cooper, it will take a couple of months to field Bradley fighting vehicles in Ukraine.
Late last year, The Telegraph newspaper reported that the United Kingdom intended to increase defense spending by around 1.5 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) in light of the Ukraine war. UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce the increase for the fiscal year 2025 in the spring of 2023.
In late November, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vowed that his country would stand by Kiev's side "until Ukraine has won" during his first visit to the Ukrainian capital since taking office.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, revealed in December that the West had supplied more than 350 tanks, 700 artillery systems, 100 multiple launch rocket systems, 30 helicopters, at least 5,000 drones, and 1,000 armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine since the start of Ukraine war.
Total foreign financial assistance to Ukraine amounted to almost $100 billion, Gerasimov added.