Skip to content
Edit post

UK confirms delivery of Challenger tanks, artillery to Ukraine in landmark new defense package

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 15, 2023 1:03 PM 3 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.

Become a member Support us just once

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed late on Jan. 14 the delivery of 14 Challenger 2 tanks and around 30 AS90 self-propelled 155mm howitzers as part of a major new package of military aid Ukraine.

The tank squadron will be delivered to Ukraine in the coming weeks, with the self-propelled artillery following soon after, the U.K. Prime Minister's Office said.

Sunak stressed the need for an international strategy to break the stalemate in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

“The prime minister is clear that a long and static war only serves Russia’s ends,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Equipped with state-of-the art targeting technology and advanced armor, the Challenger 2 is considered to be superior to the Soviet-era tanks currently operated by both sides in the war.

The U.K. will start training the Ukrainian forces to use the Challenger tanks and guns in the coming days. The nation has already provided basic training to Ukrainian soldiers as part of Operation Interflex, launched in July 2022 and involving instructors from eleven other nations.

Citing a “senior defense official”, British tabloid The Mirror reported on Jan. 15 that the U.K. will also send four Apache attack helicopters, armed with Hellfire missiles to Ukraine. The full details of the new U.K. military aid package will be released on Jan. 16.

As the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion approaches, the move, labelled the “start of a gear change in the UK’s support,” is part a significant change of wind among Ukraine’s partners, committing Western-built tanks for the first time to improve Ukraine’s capacity for offensive operations.

The announcement comes four days after Polish President Andrzej Duda announced the delivery of twelve German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

Duda said that the tanks would be delivered as part of a growing “international coalition” to provide Ukraine with Western-built tanks, with several European nations including Finland signalling their willingness to contribute.

Any delivery of German-built Leopard tanks must still be approved by Berlin, which has yet to give an official all-clear. On Jan. 13, Bloomberg reported that Germany would announce its final decision ahead of the next round of the Rammstein defense summit on Jan. 20.

Ukraine's Christmas wish list: What is needed to end the war quickly

The U.K. will commit £2.3 billion ($2.77 billion) in aid to Ukraine in 2023, the UK’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced on Dec. 29.

“Another £2.3 billion worth of support next year, and in that we make sure they have the weapon systems they need, and at the moment, the United Kingdom will go and help them buy itafrom elsewhere around the world,” Wallace said.

The Sunak government believes a window of opportunity has opened up in the where Russia is on the back foot due to resupply issues and plummeting morale, Downing Street said.

For this reason, the government is urgining its allies to deploy planned support for 2023 as soon as possible to have maximum impact.

This week, U.K.’s foreign and defense secretaries will meet counterparts to stimulate international action in a “flurry of diplomacy,” the press release said.

Wallace will travel to Estonia and Germany this week to work with NATO allies and other international partners. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will travel to the U.S. and Canada.

After months of negotiations, Germany announced on Jan. 5 that it would provide Ukraine with Marder infantry fighting vehicles. The U.S. jointly announced it would send 50 Bradley fighting vehicles on the same day, while France said it would provide AMX-10 RC wheeled tank destroyers.

As part of Lithuania's 40 million euro military aid commitment for Ukraine over 2023, President Gitanas Naseda also announced on Jan. 11 the delivery of more air defense systems.

Poland to deliver Leopard tanks to Ukraine

News Feed

10:47 PM

Kremlin spokesman threatens Europe over decision to host US missiles.

"Our country is in the crosshairs of American missiles located in Europe. We've been through all this before," he said in an interview with Russian TV propagandist Pavel Zarubin. "We have enough potential to deter these missiles. But the capitals of these states are potential victims."
Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
9:18 PM

Chief emergency worker among two killed in Kharkiv Oblast.

Half an hour after emergency workers arrived at the scene, Russian troops launched a second attack on the same location, Artem Kostyria, head of the State Emergency Situations Service's branch in Kharkiv Oblast, and police sergeant Oleksiy Koshchii.
5:24 PM

Russian kamikaze drone flies deep inside Belarus, whereabouts unknown.

The Belarusian Hajun monitoring group reported it had flown 250 kilometers "over Gomel and Zhlobyn, entered the Mogilev region, and then the Minsk region." It also said a Belarusian Mi-24 helicopter and Su-30 fighter jet were scrambled to intercept the drone before it "presumably flew to Vitebsk."
3:37 PM

US developing new 'extended-range' missile for Ukraine's Air Force.

The new weapon to be developed is an Extended-Range Attack Munition (ERAM), that aims to be a low-cost, quick to produce air-launched missile with a range of around 460 kilometers. The manufacture of the weapon is intended to begin no later than two years after the awarding of the contract and up to 1,000 are to be produced each year.
3:19 PM

Children's theater goes underground in Kharkiv

In the heart of Kharkiv, Kharkiv Theater for Children and Youth performs in bomb shelters under constant threats of Russian attacks. The Kyiv Independent visited one of the theater's performances in late June to meet the dedicated actors and their no less dedicated audience.
10:46 AM

Poland considers downing Russian missiles over Ukraine, FM says.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said the problem for Warsaw is that once downed, the debris could pose a threat to Poles and the country's property. "At this stage, this is an idea. What our agreement said is we will explore this idea," he added.
1:56 AM  (Updated: )

Trump shot at during Pennsylvania rally.

At a rally in Pennsylvania, gunshots were reportedly fired at former U.S. President Donald Trump, prompting security staff to rush him off stage.

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
* indicates required


* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.