UK buys artillery from Sweden to replace kit sent to Ukraine

Britain is to acquire artillery systems from Sweden to replace equipment supplied to Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

Ownership of the first 14 Archer self-propelled guns will be transferred to the British Army this month under the terms of the government-to-government agreement.

They will provide an interim replacement for the 32 AS90s which the UK has donated to the Ukrainian forces.

Designed and built by BAE Systems Bofors in Sweden, the Ministry of Defence said the Archer has double the maximum range of the AS90, greater operational mobility, greater availability and reduced time into action.

Mr Wallace said: “This agreement with a close European ally will sustain the British Army’s requirements until the longer-term mobile fires platform comes into service – a programme we are working hard to accelerate.”

Separately, Rishi Sunak has spoken by telephone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the latest situation on the ground.

Following his recent meetings with US, Australian and French counterparts, the Prime Minister said the UK would continue to work closely with allies to ensure Ukraine had the equipment it needed, according to a Downing Street read-out of the call.

Mr Sunak updated the president on the delivery of further UK military aid, adding it was “vital Ukraine had the capabilities to change the battlefield equation as soon as possible”.