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UK supplies anti-tank weapons to Ukraine

British Army personnel from 3rd UK Division live-firing the NLAW. An unspecified number of these anti-tank weapons have been delivered to Ukraine. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

A batch of Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapons (NLAWs) has been delivered to Ukraine by the United Kingdom in its first transfer of lethal defence equipment to the country.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced the delivery in a statement to Parliament on 17 January. He said a UK team would be despatched to Ukraine to train its armed forces in operating the new weapons. No details of the number of weapons involved was given by Wallace and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) declined to provide Janes with further details.

A senior MoD source confirmed to Janes on 18 January that deliveries were under way, with the UK Royal Air Force's Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft carrying the weapons to Kyiv on 17 and 18 January across three flights. A training team of between 10 and 20 British Army soldiers accompanied the missiles, which the source identified as NLAWs.

In his statement, Wallace said the delivery was being made in response to “increasingly threatening behaviour from Russia”.

“We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light, anti-armour, defensive weapon systems,” said Wallace. A small number of UK personnel will also provide early-stage training for a short period of time, within the framework of Operation ‘Orbital', before returning to the United Kingdom, he added.

In a bid to open a dialogue with Russia, Wallace said he was inviting Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to visit London in the next few weeks. “We are ready to discuss issues related to mutual security concerns and engage constructively, in good faith,” he said.

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