British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told President Volodymyr Zelensky that his country has an “ambition” to send Challenger 2 main battle tanks and additional artillery systems to Ukraine, Downing Street said on Jan. 14.
The Financial Times reported earlier in the week that the U.K. intends to provide Ukraine with Challenger 2 tanks. It added that Sunak has asked Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to coordinate with “partners” over the next few weeks to go “further and faster with our support for Ukraine, including the provision of tanks.”
Downing Street has not confirmed the Financial Times report.
The Zelensky-Sunak phone call comes a few days after Poland announced that it was ready to send a company of German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine. A company typically implies 10-14 tanks.
Meanwhile, Germany has faced renewed pressure from its allies to send Kyiv’s long-sought Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Bloomberg reported on Jan. 13 that Germany would likely finalize their decision on supplying Ukraine with Leopard main battle tanks in the next week, citing two unnamed officials familiar with the matter.
In a Twitter post, Zelensky thanked Sunak for U.K.’s continued “strong support” while reiterating that he was anticipating a similar move from his other Western allies.
“In a conversation with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, I thanked him for the decisions that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield but will also be the right signal for other partners,” he said.