London started supplying Kyiv with anti-tank weapons to help it defend itself from Russia’s potential invasion amid the Russian build-up of troops near the Ukrainian border.

“We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems… they are not strategic weapons and pose no threat to Russia. They are to use in self-defence… but nevertheless it would make people pause and think what they were doing and if tanks were to roll into Ukraine, invade it, then they would be part of the defence mechanism,” British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told the House of Commons.

He added that the first systems had already been delivered on 17 January, and a small number of British troops would conduct training for a short period. However, Wallace did not specify the number and type of weapons sent to Ukraine.

According to some media outlets, these may be a new generation of light anti-tank weapons with a range of several hundred metres. These may be modern NLAW portable anti-tank missile systems.

Journalists also drew attention to the fact that British C-17 transport aircraft travelled to Ukraine, not via the shortest route, but bypassed German airspace. Berlin must have denied the right to fly over its territory.

At the same time, Minister of Defence of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov thanked the United Kingdom for the decision to provide Ukraine with anti-tank weapons.

“Ukraine highly appreciates Britain’s decision to provide a new security package with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems! Thanks to our friend Ben Wallace for the great speech in the British Parliament!” the minister posted on Twitter.

In December 2021, Reznikov stated that Germany was blocking the weapons supply to Kyiv through NATO.

According to Bild, the arms supplies to Ukraine through NATO were blocked by former Chancellor Angela Merkel. At the request of her government, the Netherlands supported Germany as Berlin allegedly did not want to be the only one opposing the deliveries.

Bohdan Marusyak

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