The United Kingdom on Saturday pledged to send Ukraine tanks while its capital city once again fell victim to missile strikes and as heavy ground warfare continued in Ukraine’s Donbas region.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he would send Ukraine Challenger 2 tanks along with additional artillery systems following a Saturday call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The war has once again been ramping up and both Russia and Ukraine look to bolster their forces and take control over the battlefield in the Donbas where intense fighting continues along a 50-mile axis from Bakhmut and Soledar in Donetsk to Kremmina in Luhansk.
According to a readout of the call the British government said the leaders “agreed on the need to seize on this moment with an acceleration of global military and diplomatic support to Ukraine.”
Zelenskyy has longed urged Western allies to send his troops on the east front tanks, but in recent weeks those calls have been amplified and partner nations like France and Poland have begun to answer the calls.
Earlier this month Paris pledged to send AMX-10 RC light tanks and Warsaw this week said it would send its German-made Leopard tanks to the war-torn nation.
Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday also said he was in talks with allied nations to send additional tanks, but he did not specify which nations he was referring to.
The U.S. has not yet committed to send tanks, though the Biden administration will send Bradley Fighting Vehicles which it has argued will prove valuable on the fluid warfront.
In a $3 billion drawdown package announced last week, the U.S. committed to sending 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 100 Armored Personnel Carriers, 55 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles and 138 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.
The chief differences between Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the U.S.’s M1 Abrams tank is its lighter armor and cannon ability.
Though tanks possess heavier armor and longer-range firing power, they also transport fewer troops on the battlefield and are less easily maneuverable.
Germany last week also said it would send Ukraine 40 combat vehicles and a Patriot air defense missile system – a sophisticated battery capable of taking down ballistic missiles.
The U.S. has also pledged to train Ukrainian soldiers on the Patriot system and will send Kyiv one of its own batteries as well.
It is unclear how fast the U.K., France or Poland can get tanks on Ukraine’s front lines, but Washington said it would take a few months to get its vehicles over to Ukraine and get its fighters trained up on the U.S. systems.
The British prime minister told Zelenskyy that he and his government would work “intensively” to get the defensive aid promised by international partners delivered “rapidly” to best “allow Ukraine to press their advantage, win this war and secure a lasting peace.”