The United Kingdom is planning to send various armored vehicles to Ukraine in another military assistance package, according to a report by The Times.
Aside from The Times, Reuters has also reported that the British Defense Ministry is considering sending the Mastiff and/or the Jackal.
The Mastiff is a heavily armored, 6×6 protected patrol vehicle armed with a 7.62mm machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The Jackal, on the other hand, is a long-range patrol reconnaissance vehicle designed for mobility endurance and maneuverability. It is reported to be armed with a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and a 7.62mm general-purpose machine gun.
Before sending these off to Ukraine, the British would remove sensitive equipment from the vehicles and send their own troops to conduct training. The training would reportedly be held in a country neighboring Ukraine for logistics purposes.
In the past, the UK has sent some 4,200 NLAWs and their Starstreak anti-aircraft system, a man-portable air-defense system (MANPADS), to help Ukraine secure its skies.
According to a British defense official, the new military package would also include anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, which the British government would formally announce in the coming days. However, it was not specified what these munitions were.
This development comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had pleaded with the West for more munitions and supplies and more stringent sanctions on Russia. This call was echoed by his Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, who also called on NATO to send weapons as the Russians were setting up another offensive in the coming weeks on Donbas.
“My agenda is very simple. It has only three items on it. Its weapons, weapons, and weapons,” he said to journalists before attending a meeting with NATO countries’ respective foreign ministers. “I call on all allies to put aside their hesitations, their reluctance, to provide Ukraine with everything it needs,” he added.
Reports did confirm that the Russian forces were already setting up to attack Donbas after it had suffered significant losses during its first phase of the invasion. According to an update posted by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, training and relocation of military units to Donbas were already underway. They have observed the Russians using several railway stations for transportation of munitions and redeployment. One of these units is the 38th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 35th All-Military Army of the Eastern Military District, which was reported to be destroyed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in an undisclosed location in Ukraine as they headed to the Belgorod Region.
Kuleba also expressed that he did not think there was any difference between defensive and offensive weapons and that it “doesn’t make any sense when it comes to the situation in my country.” This referenced the West’s collective decision not to send “offensive” weapons to Ukraine, such as the MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland, and only send defensive weapons such as air defense systems and munitions that presumably could only be useful inside Ukraine’s borders. Such arguments seem to be a matter of semantics, as any armed Ukrainian soldier may be considered an “Offensive Weapon” as he is capable of walking across the Ukraine border into Russia and conducting “offensive” operations there. Western squeamishness about giving Ukraine “offensive weapons” seems a continuation of a policy to not upset the Russians further which surrenders a great deal of the initiative to Moscow on how the war is conducted and may even prolong it along with the suffering of the Ukrainian people.
Some of these weapons include the Javelins and Stingers that the US has sent to Ukraine. More so, these also include the Switchblade 300 and 600 drones that were reportedly being sent to Ukraine as well, which was initially part of the Biden Administration’s $800 military assistance package.
On April 6, the Department of Defense approved an additional $100 million support package that includes more Javelins and 100 Switchblade drones. This follows the $300 military assistance given to Ukraine by the US in the past few weeks. Altogether, the total amount of security assistance given to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion last Feb. 24 is now at $1.7 billion.
Here is an updated itemized rundown of the munitions being sent to Ukraine as part of these security assistance packages as published by the Department of Defense:
- 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems
- 5,000 Javelin anti-armor systems
- 7,000 other anti-armor systems
- Hundreds of Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems
- Over 7,000 small arms
- Over 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition
- 45,000 sets of body armor and helmets
- Laser-guided rocket systems
- Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems
- Four counter-artillery and counter-unmanned aerial system tracking radars
- Four counter-mortar radar systems
- Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles
- Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, and optics
- Tactical secure communications systems
- Explosive ordnance disposal protective gear
- Medical supplies to include first aid kits
In an apparent shift from defensive to offensive weapons, Germany approved the transfer of 56 units of the Pbv-501 IFVs (originally BMP-1s) currently in the Czech Republic to Ukraine. Australia is also set to donate a number of Bushmaster troop carriers to Ukraine, as announced by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Some of the countries that had operated Soviet-era tanks were Slovakia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary. After the US had stated that it would help facilitate the transfer of T-72 tanks to Ukraine, the Czech Republic has confirmed that it would be the first country to donate its own T-72 tank units to help Ukraine fight off the Russians. While Czech defense minister Jana Cernochova refused to discuss the details of the delivery, T-72 tanks were seen passing through the Czech Republic to be delivered to Ukraine and were described as a “gift” to the Ukrainians.