UK warned it is sending wrong tanks to Ukraine

Ukraine: Footage appears to show strike on Russian unit

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The UK has been warned that its proposals to send Challenger 2 tanks to aid the effort in Ukraine are the wrong move because the vehicles could give Russia vital security intelligence. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed in the House of Commons on Tuesday that Britain will send a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv.

He said Russia had “singularly failed to break the will of the Ukrainian people” and had “managed to lose significant numbers of generals and commanding officers”.

Mr Wallace continued: “We now would expect a trend back towards a Russian offensive, no matter how much loss of life accompanies it.”

But military experts fear this may be the wrong move from the UK.

Writing in the Telegraph on Monday, former British Army soldier Robert Clark explained how sending Challenger 2 tanks could backfire.

Firstly, he points out that the UK alone would not have enough tanks to send to Ukraine.

Britain currently has 227 Challenger 2 tanks, but Ukraine has asked for 300.

This would mean other European countries sending tanks, including France and Germany.

Mr Clark adds that, while the UK would send tanks that are currently out of use, these tanks may still be needed.

The third problem is that if Ukraine were to suffer setbacks in the war, Russia could take control of Britain’s tanks.

Mr Clark says that there will be “real risks to operational security if British tanks fall into Russian hands.”

Every Challenger 2 tank is built with Dorchester armour – a classified material which no other country has intel on.

Mr Clark adds that Ukraine should instead get the Challenger 1 tanks which The Kingdom of Jordan has recently retired – 400 in total.

Other military figures share Mr Clark’s fears. General Patrick Sanders, head of the British Army, warned the UK’s safety could be compromised if it gives its weapons to Ukraine.

In a transcript first seen by Sky News, he warns that it is “vital” for the UK to restore its fighting power.

He said: “Wars are won and lost on land.

“Ukraine needs our tanks and guns now. I know they will put them to good use. And there can be no better cause.

“Giving away these capabilities will leave us temporarily weaker as an army, there is no denying it.

“But ensuring Russia’s defeat in Ukraine makes us safer and, as a leading member of NATO, the world’s most powerful defensive alliance, we are protected by the principle of collective defence.

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“There is no doubt that our choice will impact on our ability to mobilise the army against the acute and enduring threat Russia presents and meet our NATO obligations.

“Our tank crews and gunners will feel the impact the most, but the decision also brings the opportunity to accelerate the modernisation and transformation of the army ahead of Russia.”

One thing that is also clear is that the UK’s military support for Ukraine has not gone unnoticed in Russia.

This week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that British tanks will “burn” in Ukraine.

He said: “They are using this country [Ukraine] as a tool to achieve their anti-Russian goals. These tanks are burning and will burn just like the rest.”

Other military figures share Mr Clark’s fears. General Patrick Sanders, head of the British Army, warned the UK’s safety could be compromised if it gives its weapons to Ukraine.

In a transcript first seen by Sky News, he warns that it is “vital” for the UK to restore its fighting power.

He said: “Wars are won and lost on land.

“Ukraine needs our tanks and guns now. I know they will put them to good use. And there can be no better cause.

“Giving away these capabilities will leave us temporarily weaker as an army, there is no denying it.

“But ensuring Russia’s defeat in Ukraine makes us safer and, as a leading member of NATO, the world’s most powerful defensive alliance, we are protected by the principle of collective defence.

“There is no doubt that our choice will impact our ability to mobilise the army against the acute and enduring threat Russia presents and meet our NATO obligations.

“Our tank crews and gunners will feel the impact the most, but the decision also brings the opportunity to accelerate the modernisation and transformation of the army ahead of Russia.”

One thing that is also clear is that the UK’s military support for Ukraine has not gone unnoticed in Russia.

This week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that British tanks will “burn” in Ukraine.

He said: “They are using this country [Ukraine] as a tool to achieve their anti-Russian goals. These tanks are burning and will burn just like the rest.”

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