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UK indicates it will send battle tanks to Ukraine

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has indicated that Britain would send Ukraine send some of its main battle tanks along with additional artillery support during a phone call on Saturday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Media reports have suggested Britain was in discussions with Ukraine to deliver the Challenger 2 tanks to help the country fight invading Russian forces.

Sunak’s office has previously said Britain would co-ordinate its support with allies after Germany, France and the United States all indicated last week they would provide armoured vehicles to Ukraine.

“The prime minister outlined the UK’s ambition to intensify our support to Ukraine, including through the provision of Challenger 2 tanks and additional artillery systems,” a spokesperson for Sunak said.

“They agreed on the need to seize on this moment with an acceleration of global military and diplomatic support to Ukraine.”

Sunak’s office said further details would be provided shortly.

The Challenger 2 is a battle tank designed to attack other tanks, and has been in service with the British Army since 1994. It has been deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq, according to the army.

“The prime minister and President Zelenskiy welcomed other international commitments in this vein, including Poland’s offer to provide a company of Leopard tanks,” Sunak’s spokesperson said.

Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president’s staff, thanked Britain for its new defence package.

“This is an important contribution to the defense of freedom and democracy in Europe. We are grateful to Rishi Sunak and the (British) people for their help,” he said on Twitter.

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a phone call with Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine January 14, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attends a Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) plenary session in Riga, Latvia December 19, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Pool
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