U.K. to supply tanks to Ukraine as Russian missiles hit Kyiv

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. | File Picture
| Picture Credit score: AP

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Saturday promised to supply tanks and artillery methods to Ukraine, amid renewed missile assaults by Moscow focusing on the Ukrainian capital and different cities.

Mr. Sunak’s Downing Road workplace mentioned in a press release that he made the pledge to supply Challenger 2 tanks and different artillery methods after chatting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday.

It didn’t say when the tanks had been to be delivered or what number of. British media has reported that 4 British Military Challenger 2 fundamental battle tanks will probably be despatched to japanese Europe instantly, with eight extra to comply with shortly after, with out citing sources.

Mr. Zelenskyy in a tweet Saturday thanked Mr. Sunak “for the selections that won’t solely strengthen us on the battlefield, but in addition ship the correct sign to different companions.”

Ukraine has for months sought to be provided with heavier tanks, together with the U.S. Abrams and the German Leopard 2 tanks, however Western leaders have been treading fastidiously.

The Czech Republic and Poland have offered Soviet-era T-72 tanks to Ukrainian forces. Poland has additionally expressed readiness to supply an organization of Leopard tanks, however President Andrzej Duda pressured throughout his latest go to to the Ukrainian metropolis of Lviv that the transfer can be attainable solely as a component in a bigger worldwide coalition of tank assist to Kyiv.

Earlier this month, France pledged to produce its AMX-10 RC armoured fight autos — designated as “gentle tanks” in French — to Ukraine as nicely.

Mr. Sunak’s announcement got here a number of hours after a collection of explosions rocked Kyiv on Saturday morning. An infrastructure goal was hit in what Ukrainian officers mentioned was a missile assault.

Explosions had been heard within the Dniprovskyi district, a residential space on the left financial institution of the Dnieper River, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko mentioned. Klitschko additionally mentioned that fragments of a missile fell on a non-residential space within the Holosiivskyi district on the correct financial institution, and a hearth briefly broke out in a constructing there. No casualties have been reported to date.

It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not a number of amenities in Kyiv had been focused or simply the one which was reported hit. The Ukrainian capital hasn’t been attacked by missiles since New 12 months’s night time, Jan 1.

Within the outlying Kyiv area, a residential constructing within the village of Kopyliv was hit, and home windows of the homes close by had been blown out, Tymoshenko mentioned.

A complete of 18 non-public homes had been broken within the area, in line with regional Gov. Oleksii Kuleba. “There are broken roofs and home windows,” however no casualties, Kuleba mentioned in a Telegram submit. He added {that a} hearth has been contained at a “crucial infrastructure facility” within the area.

Earlier on Saturday, two Russian missiles hit Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest metropolis, the governor of the Kharkiv area reported.

Oleh Syniehubov mentioned Russian forces fired two S-300 missiles on the industrial district of Kharkiv. The strikes focused “power and industrial objects of Kharkiv and the (outlying) area,” Mr. Syniehubov mentioned. No casualties have been reported, however emergency energy cuts within the metropolis and different settlements of the area had been attainable, the official mentioned.

The assaults comply with conflicting experiences on the destiny of the fiercely contested salt mining city of Soledar, in Ukraine’s embattled east. Russia claims that its forces have captured the city, a growth that might mark a uncommon victory for the Kremlin after a collection of humiliating setbacks on the battlefield.

Ukrainian authorities and President Zelenskyy insist the battle for Soledar continues.

Moscow has painted the battle for the city and the close by metropolis of Bakhmut as key to capturing the japanese area of the Donbas, which includes of partially occupied Donetsk and Luhansk areas, and as a strategy to grind down the perfect Ukrainian forces and stop them from launching counterattacks elsewhere.

However that cuts each methods, as Ukraine says its fierce protection of the japanese strongholds has helped tie up Russian forces. Western officers and analysts say the 2 cities’ significance is extra symbolic than strategic.

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