As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its third month, many Western powers have been sending military aid to Kyiv to help combat Russian forces. The UK has been at the front for this support, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging aid and military support to Ukraine worth £1.3billion. Since the start of the conflict, the UK has committed over £450million in lethal aid to Ukraine, with the Prime Minister recently announcing plans to provide an additional package of £300million.
In a statement, Mr Johnson said: “Putin’s brutal attack is not only causing untold devastation in Ukraine – but it is also threatening peace and security across Europe.”
Dan Sabbagh, the Guardian’s defence security editor tweeted: “Britain has provided £450m in arms for Ukraine, says Queen’s Speech briefing, including over 5,000 anti-tank weapons (mostly NLAWs), five air defence systems (Starstreak) with 50 missiles, 1,360 anti-structure munitions + 4.5 tonnes of explosive.
“Most detailed list I have seen.
“For comparison, the US has supplied $3.8billion of arms so far.
“UK contribution far less than that but likely to be second largest after 10 weeks of fighting.”
One user tweeted: “Worth noting they only have 36 Starstreak in total so 5 is quite a significant number off that to give away.”
According to the Queen’s Speech briefing, the military aid provided to Kyiv has been designed in consultation with the Armed Forces of Ukraine to support their most pressing military needs.
The statement read: “We were the first European country to provide weapons and we continue to work closely with President Zelenskyy to provide the ongoing military support that he requires.”
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Unlike the modern tanks used by Western forces, Russian tanks carry multiple shells within their turrets, making them extremely vulnerable.
Even an indirect hit from NLAW missiles onto the turret can create a chain reaction that will result in a massive explosion of the tank’s entire ammunition store.
Nicholas Drummond, a former British Army officer and defence analyst noted that this kind of design turns Russian troops inside the tanks into sitting ducks.
He said: “If you don’t get out within the first second, you’re toast.”
Sam Bendett, an adviser with the Russia Studies Program at New American Security said: “What we are witnessing with Russian tanks is a design flaw.
“Any successful hit … quickly ignites the ammo causing a massive explosion, and the turret is literally blown off.”