Sunak arms Ukraine with 14 Challenger tanks

Jan 14, 2023. Just now.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed that Britain will send Ukraine some battle tanks along with additional weapons during a phone call today with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A squadron of 14 tanks will go into the country in the coming weeks, with four Challenger 2 tanks likely to be sent immediately.

The Challenger 2 is a battle tank designed to attack other tanks, and has been in service with the British Army since 1994. It has been deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Iraq, according to the army.

Mr Zelensky welcomed the UK’s decision to provide tanks, saying it would “send the right signal” as Kyiv has been pressing allies for more heavy weapons.

The UK will also provide additional artillery systems, a Downing Street spokesman said in a statement.

“The prime minister and President Zelensky welcomed other international commitments in this vein, including Poland’s offer to provide a company of Leopard tanks,” they added.

The deal will mount pressure on Germany to give other European nations permission to export Leopards, without which it would be illegal. Germany will make a decision on sending Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine next week.

7 comments

  1. As at 12.27 pm UK time today, The Telegraph reported:

    “Frontline city of Soledar still ‘controlled’ by Ukraine
    The city of Soledar, which Russia had claimed to have captured, is still “controlled” by Ukrainian troops, local authorities said today.

    “Soledar is controlled by Ukrainian authorities, our military controls it,” regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on national television.

    But he said “battles continue in and outside of the city” and added that Soledar and nearby Bakhmut were the “hottest” spots on the frontline.”

  2. Comment from reader Steven Goodban: “Jordan has 400 Challenger 1 tanks. 190 in serviceable condition.
    These are being replaced with Leclerc MBTs
    It has been noted that heavy Canadian transport planes have been flying between Jordan and the logistic hub at Prestwick.
    The challenger 1 tank is simpler to operate.
    I wonder much credence I give to this announcement.
    Clearly Jordan would not want to be seen as a direct supplier and in the heat of battle who could distinguish between the two?
    Just a thought.”

    Michael Grahame: “Not a great idea to give them challengers- bad idea mainly for logistics reasons.
    See here:
    https://www.turbulenttimes.co.uk/news/front-page/ukraine-intellectually-challengered/
    What the Ukrainians need is just one type of tank in large numbers. Best would be the Abrams imho so the pressure should squarely be placed on ol’ dementia Joe to come up with goods.”

    David Birchall: Reply to Michael Grahame:

    “Challengers are fine. What this does is put the pressure on Germany to say yes next week, and then we unleash the Leopards.
    From where I am sitting Biden’s administration is doing a superb job. Maybe there should be more Presidents like him, who let his military sort this out – Trump would have tried to hand over Europe to Puta, while suggesting we all inject ourselves with bleach to make it more palatable. Or declared it a fake war and got his lads to storm Kyiv…”

    Jaques Boban: Reply to Michael Grahame”

    “I’d disagree. Rishi is first in the world in providing modern MBTs.
    Looks like damn strong leadership to me.”

    Rover Wilde: “There can no longer be a doubt that Scholz is a clear threat to NATO solidarity and Western security. At the very least he and his country owe NATO allies and Europe big time for German economic and foreign policies that undermined NATO and strengthened its biggest threat. To block other countries like Poland from aiding Ukraine with their own Leopard tanks on a technicality and because he can, makes Scholz a de facto Putin appeaser and, arguably, complicit in Putin’s pursuit of his objectives. It is not a new feature of his posture. At the very start of the war he even blocked military aid from allies crossing German territory. One also has to suspect that Article 5 would mean nothing to Scholz unless it was Germany that suffered attack.”

    Steven Goodban: “What a pity South Korea doesn’t want to give up a few hundred K2 Black Panther tanks ( it has 1800). These beauties are 10 tons lighter than the Abraham but with a more potent cannon.”

    • I absolutely agree: we should not give so many different platforms. But as your article says: it is not about the Challenger tank, it is about moving the Germans.

      I think Leopards 2 would be the best as spare parts are available throughout Europe, Poland has them for quite a long time already and they aren’t as heavy as the Abram so they are easier to transport and will be better suited to deal with rain and mud.

      Still I think Abram’s are much more capable, but I think the logistical advantage of Leopards 2 outweigh the better protection of the Abrams.

      It all depends on the behaviour of the Germans. If they continue to give arse, then Abram’s are probably a better deal.

      I do understand the South Koreans aren’t eager to give theirs away, as they need them themselves.

    • I’m not a weapons expert, but from what I’ve been reading, the Abrams is not a good choice because the training program to maintain it is six months. Apparently, the gas turbines require complex maintenance.

What is your opinion?