Britain to Send Armoured Vehicles to Ukraine, Train Soldiers: Report

SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 13: A Jackal armoured vehicle is seen during a Mission Rehear
Leon Neal/Getty Images

The top brass of the United Kingdom’s military have reportedly drawn up plans to ship armoured vehicles to Ukraine to combat the Russian invasion, according to Britain’s paper of record.

A report from The Times of London has claimed that British military chiefs believe that increasing the UK’s arms shipments to Ukraine will be crucial for the war effort in Ukraine over the next three weeks.

The military is planning on shipping armoured vehicles, such as the Mastiff or the Jackal to Ukraine, in the hopes that they could enable Ukraine to push further towards the Russian lines.

The British broadsheet said that under plans, the vehicles would have sensitive equipment removed from them in order to prevent Russia from gaining access to certain military technologies.

It is also believed that British soldiers may accompany the shipments to a neighbouring country of Ukraine — probably Poland, given previous experience — where they would train Ukrainian forces on how to use the vehicles.

“The next three weeks will be critical. [The Ukrainians] have already partly won. They have exhausted the Russian army, won the battle of occupation and condemned Putin to eternal isolation. Can they push back the Russian army? Can they break the Russian army? Possibly. Depends on what help we can all give,” a senior government source told The Times.

To date, the UK has mainly focused on sending Ukraine “defensive weapons” such as anti-tank weapons, including Next-Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons Systems (NLAWs) and Javelin missiles. The government has also supplied anti-air missiles to combat Russian military planes.

In response to Britain’s willingness to arm his country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a “leader who is helping more” than others adding that “Britain is definitely on our side”.

Should the British government send armoured vehicles — stepping away from that standard of sending defensive equipment — it could be seen as an escalation in the Western proxy war against Russia.

This week it was reported that the Czech Republic became the first NATO member state to ship tanks to Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion, allegedly sending modern BVP infantry fighting vehicles and Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

On Thursday, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels that they need more weapons to continue the fighting.

“My agenda is very simple. It has only three items on it. Its weapons, weapons, and weapons,” Kuleba said.

“I call on all allies to put aside their hesitations, their reluctance, to provide Ukraine with everything it needs,” he added.

Kuleba criticised Germany and other NATO states for limiting their arms shipments to “defensive weapons”, a distinction that the West has tried to make in order to be able to claim that they are not in direct conflict with nuclear-armed Russia.

“This distinction between defensive and offensive doesn’t make any sense when it comes to the situation in my country,” Kuleba said. “Those countries who are saying we will provide Ukraine with defensive weapons, but we are not in a position to provide them with offensive weapons — they are hypocritical, this is simply unfair, unjustified approach.”

Meanwhile, despite making a show about enforcing sanctions on Russia, the European Union has admitted that it has sent some €35 billion (£29/$38 billion) in payments to Russia in exchange for natural gas since the invasion began.

During the same time period, the bloc has sent one billion euros (£0.83/$1.09 billion) in arms to for Ukraine’s use.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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