Will the UK and Germany Send Advanced Tanks to Ukraine? – Following the White House’s confirmation that Bradley Fighting Vehicles will be sent to Ukraine, reports revealed on Monday how the British government is considering supplying Kyiv with British Challenger 2 tanks to help fight Russian forces.
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According to Sky News, as many as ten vehicles could be sent to Ukraine, which is sufficient to equip one squadron.
A Western source told the news outlet that discussions have been taking place for “a few weeks,” and a Ukrainian source told the outlet that should the U.K. go ahead with the plans, it could prompt other allies to supply tanks and military vehicles.
“It will be a good precedent to demonstrate [to] others – to Germany first of all, with their Leopards… and Abrams from the United States,” the Ukrainian source said.
A final decision has not been made about the tanks, but should it go ahead, the tanks would be the first advanced western tanks to enter Ukraine.
Just as the United States held off sending advanced missile systems and long-range missiles to Ukraine for months, European countries have avoided sending advanced tanks to Ukraine for some time over concerns that it could be considered escalatory by Russia.
Deploying modern tanks from European countries also means depleting stockpiles of modern weapons, putting leaders of countries that supply them at risk of criticism from opposition parties.
If Prime Minister Rishi Sunak approves the deal, it could be announced at the next Contact Group meeting, which is a gathering of 50 nations that discusses and coordinates plans to provide military and financial assistance to Ukraine.
France and Poland Want Germany to Send Leopard Tanks
Only days ago, Germany agreed to send infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, virtually in lockstep with the United States.
However, pressure is building on Berlin to provide powerful tanks to Ukraine.
The governments of France and Poland have reportedly put pressure on Berlin to provide Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, putting Germany in the difficult position of deciding whether or not to be the first nation to provide advanced tanks to Kyiv.
Speaking to Politico, one French official reportedly said that Paris is “turning the screws on Germany in the hope of extracting an agreement from Berlin to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine ahead of a Franco-German summit on January 22, the 60th anniversary of the Élysée partnership treaty between the two nations.”
Poland, meanwhile, is looking to form a broader coalition with Western partners.
Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński said on Monday that he is encouraging other countries to “form a broad coalition for the transfer of more modern tanks to Ukraine, such as Leopard tanks.”
If no one European country wants to be the first to make the announcement, several deliveries of advanced Western tanks may be announced in unison in the coming weeks.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.