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UK to send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, PM confirms during call with Zelensky

UK to send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, PM confirms during call with Zelensky

Rishi Sunak confirmed the UK will send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine during a call with Volodymyr Zelensky, No10 has said.

After speaking to the Prime Minister on Saturday, Mr Zelensky thanked the UK for making decisions “that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but also send the right signal to other partners”.

Mr Zelensky tweeted: “Always strong support of the UK is now impenetrable and ready for challenges.

“In a conversation with the Prime Minister, I thanked for the decisions that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but also send the right signal to other partners.”

A readout of the call from Downing Street read: “The leaders reflected on the current state of Russia’s war in Ukraine, with successive Ukrainian victories pushing Russian troops back and compounding their military and morale issues.

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

Concluding: “The Prime Minister stressed that he and the whole UK Government would be working intensively with international partners to deliver rapidly the kind of support which will allow Ukraine to press their advantage, win this war and secure a lasting peace.”

The transfer of tanks if the first any major western nation has agreed with Ukraine.

The UK has a total of 227 Challenger 2s but it is also hoped that Ukraine may receive German-made Leopard 2 tanks from EU states.

Berlin would need to approve the transfer but Polish president, Andrzej Duda, said the tanks will handed over as part of “coalition-building”.

Despite German resistance to send tanks to Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told German public broadcaster ARD: “Even if Germany has certain rational arguments for not doing it, Germany will still do it at a later date.

“We have already seen this with the self-propelled howitzers, with the IRIS-T air defence system, and most recently with the Marders and Patriot systems.”