UK vows to send tanks to Ukraine and urges Germany to follow suit

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By Euronews  with AP
Britain’s Defence Secretary has urged Germany to provide Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine after he confirmed the UK would offer some of its own heavy armour to Kyiv
Britain’s Defence Secretary has urged Germany to provide Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine after he confirmed the UK would offer some of its own heavy armour to Kyiv   -   Copyright  Alexei Alexandrov/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Britain’s Defence Secretary has urged Germany to provide Leopard 2 tanks for Ukraine after he confirmed the UK would offer some of its own heavy armour to Kyiv - becoming the first western nation to do so.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, Ben Wallace confirmed that the UK would offer 14 Challenger 2 tanks as part of a wider package of military aid.

"After discussions with the United States and our European allies, it is hoped that the example set by the French and us will allow those countries holding Leopard tanks to donate as well,” he said.

“I would urge my German colleagues to do that. These tanks are not offensive when they are used for defensive methods.”

That's despite warnings from the Kremlin that "British tanks will burn", should the UK see the pledge through. 

Moscow said that supplying a new round of more advanced weapons to Ukraine would not change the outcome of the war.

"They are using this country [Ukraine] as a tool to achieve their anti-Russian goals," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. 

"These tanks are burning and will burn just like the rest."

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the UK for its support and urged allies to stand with Ukraine in defence of freedom.

"What happened in Dnipro, the fact that Russia is preparing a new attempt to seize the initiative in the war, the fact that the nature of hostilities at the front requires new decisions in the defence supply - all this only emphasises how important it is to coordinate our efforts - efforts of all members of the coalition to defend Ukraine and freedom," he said in his nightly address.

Ukrainian troops in the US

Some 100 Ukrainian troops have arrived at Oklahoma's Fort Sill, in the US, to begin training on the highly sought-after Patriot missile defence system - for protection against Russian missile attacks.

For months, Ukraine called on the US to provide the Patriot surface-to-air guided missile defence system because it can target aircraft, cruise missiles and shorter-range ballistic missiles.

AP Photo/File
Patriot missiles are seen at the Rzeszow-Jasionka Airport, 25 March 2022, in Jasionka, PolandAP Photo/File

Kyiv's decision to take troops off the battlefield to train across the Atlantic in the US is unusual, although Ukraine has sent forces for short-term training at European bases for other complex systems it has received, such as on the longer-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.

Soledar evacuations

Seven Ukrainian civilians, including a woman with reduced mobility and a 5-year-old girl, were evacuated by volunteers on 13 January from Paraskoviyivka, a village about five kilometres outside Soledar, where fierce fighting is taking place. 

Volunteers undertook the rescue missions at night to help avoid coming under heavy shelling which they say is most fierce during the day.

For more watch Euronews' report in the video above.