British Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks will be in Ukrainian hands for use against Russian forces by the end of March, with Ukrainian troops beginning training on the tanks next week.
The information came to light after a Parliamentary written question was lodged. Rachel Hopkins, the Shadow Minister for Defence, asked:
“We also welcome the Tallinn pledge as an important statement of western unity and intent to provide Ukraine with the support it needs. The west is united and we move together at a vital moment for Ukrainian forces. We encourage the Government to continue to work with NATO and European allies to deliver the support Ukraine needs to face down Putin’s aggression. It is now our duty to make sure that Ukraine wins this war. Can the Minister say when he expects Ukrainian troops to begin their training with our Challenger 2 tanks, and when he expects those tanks, and the tanks being sent by NATO allies, to begin to arrive on the frontline?”
Alex Chalk, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded:
“I am pleased to say that training is expected to start next week on Monday. She asked when the Challenger 2 tank will be in theatre; the intention is that that will be at the end of March. Between then there will be a significant programme of training, not just for the tank crews who are to operate the vehicle, but for those who will be charged with maintaining it. I am happy to discuss that further in due course if questions arise.”
I talk about what the sending of tanks signifies here.