UK accelerates Ukraine support ahead of anniversary of Putin’s war

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Vehicle carrying a Challenger 2 Tank. Photographer: Sergeant Donald Todd (RLC) - UK MOD © Crown copyright.

The Prime Minister has announced the UK will send tanks and self-propelled guns to aid the Ukrainian offensive.

The Prime Minister is set to accelerate the UK’s diplomatic and military support to Ukraine in the weeks ahead in a bid to push Russia further back and secure a lasting peace.

A flurry of UK diplomatic activity will take place across the globe this week after the Prime Minister directed senior ministers to drive international action as we approach the first anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The Prime Minister has already committed to match or exceed the UK’s defence support for Ukraine in 2023 and he instructed ministers and officials this week to ensure we are being proactive as possible across the full spectrum of our support.

UK defence and security officials believe a window has opened up where Russia is on the backfoot due to resupply issues and plummeting morale. The Prime Minister is therefore encouraging allies to deploy their planned support for 2023 as soon as possible to have maximum impact.

Sending Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine is the start of a gear change in the UK’s support. A squadron of 14 tanks will go into the country in the coming weeks after the Prime Minister told President Zelenskyy that the UK would provide additional support to aid Ukraine’s land war. Around 30 AS90s, which are large, self-propelled guns, operated by five gunners, are expected to follow. The Defence Secretary will set out further details of this support in the House of Commons on Monday.

The UK will begin training the Ukrainian Armed Forces to use the tanks and guns in the coming days, as part of wider UK efforts which have seen thousands of Ukrainian troops trained in the UK over the last six months.

The Prime Minister has tasked the Defence Secretary with bringing together European allies to ensure the surge of global military support is as strategic and coordinated as possible. The Defence Secretary will travel to Estonia and Germany this week to work with NATO allies and other international partners to this end.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary will travel to the United States later this week to discuss how the UK and US can leverage our position as leading supporters of Ukraine to galvanise further international action.

He will also travel to Canada – another of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters – to discuss closer coordination on international sanctions and our coordinated effort to boost our support to Ukraine.

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

As the people of Ukraine approach their second year living under relentless Russian bombardment, the Prime Minister is dedicated to ensuring Ukraine wins this war.

Alongside his closest military advisors, he has analysed the military picture, looked at the strategic impact of the UK’s support and identified a window where he thinks the UK and its allies can have maximum impact.

The Prime Minister is clear that a long and static war only serves Russia’s ends. That’s why he and his ministers will be speaking to our allies across the world in the days and weeks ahead to ramp up pressure on Putin and secure a better future for Ukraine.

In the lead up to the one-year anniversary of the invasion, the Prime Minister will seek to demonstrate the UK’s power as an international catalyst with influence across NATO, the G7, the Joint Expeditionary Force and elsewhere.

He will work with partners to put Ukraine in the strongest possible place to enter future peace negotiations from a position of military, economic and diplomatic strength and secure a strong and lasting peace.

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