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UK Defense Secretary: New weapons package means 'Ukrainians can go from existing to expelling Russian forces'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 16, 2023 8:33 PM 1 min read
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The U.K. will donate 14 Challenger 2 tanks with armored recovery and repair vehicles to Ukraine to help push back Russia's invasion, U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Jan. 16.

Wallace said the U.K. will deliver a battery of eight AS90 self-propelled 155 mm howitzers and two further batteries at ‘varying states of readiness.’

In addition, the U.K. will donate hundreds of armored and protective vehicles, including Bulldog personnel carriers, more "uncrewed aerial systems" to support Ukrainian artillery, some 100,000 artillery rounds, hundreds of missiles, including Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), Starstreak air defense, medium-range air defense missiles.

“Today’s package will help accelerate the conclusion of Putin’s occupation and all its brutality and ensure that in 2023 and beyond, if necessary, Ukraine retains its momentum supported by the international community that is determined more than ever, that Putin is illegal and unprovoked invasion will fail,” Wallace told the House of Commons on Jan. 16.

The equipment support package includes spares to refurbish up to a hundred Ukrainian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. Wallace said.

Equipped with advanced targeting technology and armor, the Challenger 2 tank is considered to be superior to the Soviet-era tanks operated by Russian and Ukrainian forces.

The U.K. will start training the Ukrainian forces to use the Challenger tanks and guns in the coming days.

Ukraine’s allies must “accelerate our collective efforts to dramatically, economically and militarily to keep the pressure” on Putin, Wallace said.

The military package could heap pressure on Germany to authorize a wider delivery of the vehicles this week during the Rammstein defense summit on Jan. 20.

Any delivery of German-built Leopard tanks must still be authorized by the German government, which has yet to give an official green light. (edited)

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