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Supply of British tanks to Kiev to escalate conflict in Ukraine — Russian ambassador

Andrey Kelin stressed that these heavy weapons were unlikely to arrive in Ukraine very quickly

MANCHESTER /Britain/, January 18. /TASS/. The supply of Challenger 2 British tanks to Kiev will lead to an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s ambassador to London Andrey Kelin told Russian media on Wednesday.

"The British have announced that they will be the first to supply tanks. From a military point of view, I cannot comment on this, it’s the specialists’ realm of expertise, but from a political standpoint, it is, without a doubt, an escalation. The tank is an offensive weapon. Until now, everyone has been saying that Ukraine should only be given defensive weapons," Kelin said.

The diplomat stressed that these heavy weapons were unlikely to arrive in Ukraine very quickly.

"These tanks will not appear in Ukraine today or tomorrow. Apparently, their delivery will take months," he said.

On January 14, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's office announced that London would hand over 14 Challenger 2 tanks to the Ukrainian authorities. On Monday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the new aid package would include more than 100 pieces of armored vehicles, including Bulldog armored personnel carriers. London is calling on its allies to increase the supply of heavy military equipment to Ukraine.

On January 6, the United States announced the allocation of another $3 billion in military support to Kiev. This package will include Bradley tracked infantry fighting vehicles and self-propelled howitzers. Earlier, Germany said that it intended to supply Kiev with a batch of Marder infantry fighting vehicles. France is going to send AMX-10 RC wheeled tanks to Ukraine.