On Saturday, the United Kingdom pledged to send tanks into Ukraine as its capital again fell victim to missile strikes and as ground fighting continued in Ukraine’s Donbass region.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he would send Ukraine’s Challenger 2 tanks along with additional artillery systems after a call on Saturday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The war has escalated again and both Russia and Ukraine are looking to bolster their forces and control the battlefield in Donbass as fierce fighting continues along a 50-mile axis from Bakhmut and Solidar in Donetsk to Krymina in Luhansk.
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According to a readout of the call, the British government said the leaders “agreed on the need to seize the moment by accelerating global military and diplomatic support for Ukraine.”
Zelensky has long urged Western allies to send his troops into the tanks of the Eastern Front, but in recent weeks those calls have swelled and partner countries such as France and Poland have started responding to the calls.
Earlier this month, Paris pledged to send AMX-10 RC light tanks and this week Warsaw said it would send its own German-made Leopard tanks to the war-torn country.
Polish President Andrzej Duda also said on Wednesday that he was in talks with allied countries to send additional tanks, but did not specify which countries he was referring to.
The United States has not yet committed to sending the tanks, though the Biden administration will send Bradley Fighting Vehicles that it said would prove their worth on the changing war front.
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In a $3 billion withdrawal package announced last week, the United States committed 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, 100 Armored Personnel Carriers, 55 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, and 138 High Mobility Wheeled Multipurpose Vehicles.
The main differences between the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the American M1 Abrams tank are its lighter armor and gun capability.
Although tanks have heavier armor and longer range firepower, they also carry fewer troops on the battlefield and are less maneuverable.
Germany also said last week that it would send Ukraine 40 combat vehicles and the Patriot air defense missile system – an advanced battery capable of shooting down ballistic missiles.
The United States has also pledged to train Ukrainian soldiers in the Patriot system and Kyiv will send one of its own batteries as well.
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It’s not clear how quickly the UK, France and Poland can get the tanks on Ukraine’s front lines, but Washington has said it will take a few months to get their vehicles into Ukraine and train their fighters on the US systems.
The British Prime Minister told Zelensky that he and his government would work “extensively” to get the defense aid promised by international partners “quickly” to allow Ukraine to press its advantage and win this war and secure a lasting peace.