Ukraine to get ‘double’ the number of Challenger 2 tanks than Britain originally promised ‘as a result of Zelensky’s visit’, Ukrainian ambassador claims
- Vadym Prystaiko made the comments during a radio interview
- Ministry of Defence says there are currently no plans to increase the number
Ukraine is set to receive ‘double’ the number of Challenger 2 tanks than Britain originally promised to send, according to the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK.
Vadym Prystaiko claimed the UK will double the original 14 tanks pledged to aid Ukraine’s fight against Russia following Presidnt Zelensky‘s visit in February.
The ambassador’s comments were made during an interview with the European broadcaster Radio Liberty.
Prystaiko said: ’14 tanks were promised to us and as a result of President Zelensky’s visit, it was agreed that this number will double’.
Describing the moment Britain originally promised to send the tanks, he called it a ‘breakthrough’ as it was ‘necessary to move the reluctance of all other allies’.
A Challenger II tank is seen at a military facility in the UK
Ukranian ambassador Vadym Prystaiko has said the UK will ‘double’ the number of Challenger 2 tanks that they were originally going to send
Defence secretary Ben Wallace has previously said Britain was open to extending the number of tanks being sent to Ukraine
‘At this time, the British were trying to convince all the other allies that there were two options: either the UK proceeds with this announcement alone and makes this breach that everyone else has to go into, or let’s do this very important step all together as one front, as NATO,’ the ambassador said.
‘The UK was successful this time. I think the same process is happening now with fighter jets.’
READ MORE: Britain could replace tanks sent to Ukraine if they are destroyed by Russians, says Defence Secretary
Prystaiko also explained that the UK has offered to more than double military training efforts throughout 2023 as the war in Ukraine continues.
He alleged as well that Britain will offer 30 heavy guns to the frontline.
The Ministry of Defence said that there are currently no plans to increase the number of tanks over the agreed number of 14 although the defence secretary previously said that Britain was open to extending it.
Last month, President Zelensky visited the UK and thanked Rishi Sunak and the people of Britain for their ‘steadfast support’ in Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces.
Zelensky said Britain’s support during tough times was ‘invaluable’ as he marked one year since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine.
As well as supplying Ukraine with tanks, Britain also announced a new package of sanctions that included imposing an export ban on every piece of equipment Russia has been found using on the battlefield.
Despite being initially hesitant, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed in January to send their country’s Leopard-2 tanks and ‘Marder’ Infantry Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine.
That decision came after the United States also agreed to send 31 Abrams M1A2 tanks to Ukraine.
This will be the first time since World War II that Germany has sent weapons to a war zone.
Earlier this month it was revealed the number of Russian losses passed 150,000 according to the latest figures released by Kyiv.