UK Reportedly Planning to Send Armoured Vehicles, More Anti-Tank, Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Ukraine
09:07 GMT 07.04.2022 (Updated: 15:18 GMT 28.05.2023)
© AP Photo / Marienko AndrewUkrainian soldiers inspect a damaged military vehicle after fighting in Kharkov, Ukraine. File photo
© AP Photo / Marienko Andrew
As Russian forces continue a special operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine, tightening their encirclement around remaining Ukrainian nationalists in Mariupol together with Donbass militias, Moscow has repeatedly warned that the supply of lethal weapons to the Kiev authorities by Western states is a mistake which only increases casualties.
Britain is considering sending non-lethal armoured vehicles to Ukraine, where the following three weeks are expected to be “critical”, according to government sources, cited by The Times.
The supplies are being mulled purportedly under the belief that Kiev could not only successfully push back the Russian Army, as it continues its operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify its neighbour, but possibly turn the tide on the battlefield if enough weaponry is delivered from Western countries.
Russian forces, British government officials suggested, were “exhausted”, and now is purportedly the time for NATO allies to fulfil the “shopping list” of weapons that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has been hankering for.
“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 we can all give”, a senior British government source told the outlet.
The weaponry that Kiev has been begging for is believed to include aircraft, tanks, armoured vehicles, long range artillery, anti-ship missiles, and air defence systems.
Thus, the UK is reportedly gearing up to announce plans to send further support to Ukraine, which could include more anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
According to the publication, Britain’s Ministry of Defence is also mulling sending a reconnaissance or long-range patrol vehicle, such as the Jackal, or the Mastiff, from its Protected Patrol fleet.
The Jackal or Mobility Weapon-Mounted Installation Kit (MWMIK) is a vehicle originally procured to provide British forces in Afghanistan with off-road patrol and fire-support. The vehicles can be fitted with a range of weapons, such as a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun, 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, and a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.
The Mastiff is a heavily armoured, 6x6-wheel-drive patrol vehicle which carries eight troops, plus two crew, and boasts a maximum speed of 90 kph. It can be armed with a 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, 12.7 mm heavy machine gun or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.
According to cited insiders, Ministry of Defence chiefs believe that the vehicles, stripped of sensitive equipment prior to their departure, could be used by Ukrainian forces to launch an advance on Russian forces.
Furthermore, it was suggested that UK troops would be dispatched to carry out training operations in nations bordering Ukraine.
Russia launched a military operation on 24 February after the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) appealed for assistance amid endless war crimes committed by Ukrainian troops against civilians during an eight-year offensive targeting the predominantly Russian-speaking Donbass.
The Russian Defence Ministry underscored that Moscow has no plans to occupy the country, and the operation only targets Ukrainian military infrastructure.
In response, Washington and its NATO allies have targeted Moscow with sweeping sanctions while continuing to supply weaponry to Kiev authorities, despite the Kremlin warning that this only serves to increase casualties.
Thus, reports have suggested that the Czech Republic has sent Soviet-designed T-72 tanks, along with howitzer artillery pieces and armoured vehicles to Ukraine. Online footage broadcast by Czech Television appeared to show a train carrying five T-72 tanks and five BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles.
© AP Photo / Efrem LukatskyUkrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered as part of the United States of America's security assistance to Ukraine, at the Borispol airport, outside Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022
Ukrainian servicemen unpack Javelin anti-tank missiles, delivered as part of the United States of America's security assistance to Ukraine, at the Borispol airport, outside Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022
© AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky
On Wednesday, the US announced it would send a further $100 million worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles. The package also included 10 Switchblade 600 combat drones and carry the same anti-tank warhead as the Javelin anti-tank weapon.
Last week, the US Defence Department said it was providing an additional $300 million in military equipment to Ukrainian forces. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement on Friday evening that the gear included laser-guided rocket systems, unmanned aircraft, armoured vehicles, night vision devices, and ammunition.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, currently at the NATO headquarters in Brussels for talks with G7 and alliance nations, said his country was seeking "long-term solutions".
"I came here today to discuss three most important things: weapons, weapons, and weapons. Ukraine’s urgent needs, the sustainability of supplies, and long-term solutions which will help Ukraine to prevail", Kuleba posted on Twitter.