The British Defence Minister has announced that Ukrainian soldiers will be trained on how to use and fix the Challenger 2 main battle tanks.
The government has confirmed that the tanks will be sent to Ukraine at the end of March to “push Russia” out of Ukrainian territory.
Ukrainian soldiers will receive a significant programme of training which will start on Monday and Kyiv will be supported for “as long as it takes.”
Defence Minister Alex Chalk told MPs in the House of Commons, “On the issue of training, I am pleased to say that is expected to start next week on Monday.”
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He added, “The intention is that it will be at the end of March, and between now and then a really significant programme of training, not just for the tank crews who are to operate this vehicle, but also for those who will be charged with maintaining it.”
Chalk had earlier told MPs in the Commons, “Equipping Ukraine to push Russia out of its territory is as important as equipping them to defend what they already have.
“Together we will continue supporting Ukraine to move from resisting Russian forces to expelling them from Ukrainian soil.”
He welcomed that Berlin will be sending the Leopard 2 tanks and the US for announcing that they will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Chalk added, “Our united resolve can and will prove decisive. In 2023 we are more determined than ever.
“We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
The Russian embassy in Berlin warned that sending German main battle tanks to the “eastern front” is “extremely dangerous” and will lead to the “death of Russian soldiers” and also the “civilian population” in Ukraine.
Germany and NATO have announced that almost 200 tanks will be sent to the frontline in Ukraine to break the deadlock.
Germany will provide a company of the Leopard 2 tanks with ammunition and logistics along with Spain, Poland and Norway, the UK has already pledged a squadron of the Challenger 2 main battle tanks.
Berlin’s Russian embassy said the decision is “extremely dangerous” and this will now take “the conflict to a new level of confrontation” in Ukraine.
In a statement the Russian embassy said, that “battle tanks with German crosses will again be sent to the ‘eastern front,’ which will inevitably lead to the death of not only Russian soldiers, but also the civilian population.
“It destroys the remnants of mutual trust, causes irreparable damage to the already deplorable state of Russian-German relations, casts doubt on the possibility of their normalisation in the foreseeable future.”