Ukraine crisis: Former British armoured vehicles arrive in conflict zone after being sold off by private firm

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said the sale did not represent an escalation of British involvement in the conflict

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The Independent Online

Former British Army Saxon armoured vehicles have been delivered to Ukraine.

The vehicles, described as “battle-taxis” and used in Iraq and Afghanistan, were sold by a private firm in 2013 after they went out of service three years ago.

A Ukrainian news agency claimed that 20 British Saxon vehicles had arrived and the report was picked up by the BBC.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson confirmed to The Independent that the armoured cars had arrived in Ukraine.

He stressed that the sale of these unarmed vehicles, procured by the MoD in the 1980s, did not represent an escalation of British involvement in Ukraine.

The sale, according to the MoD, had been organised for some time through the Disposal Services authority, which sells off obsolete military equipment.

 

“These vehicles were provided unarmed under a commercial contract dating 2013 by a private company,” the MoD said in a statement.

“They offer protective mobility to personnel, and are defensive in nature; they are not close combat vehicles.”

The statement added: “These vehicles were provided unarmed under a commercial contract dating 2013 by a private company. They offer protective mobility to personnel, and are defensive in nature; they are not close combat vehicles.”

Ukraine is embroiled in a vicious conflict, which has seen over 5,000 killed, as pro-Russian separatists fight for control of eastern regions of the country.

A ceasefire, supposed to come into effect at midnight this evening, is already on shaky ground as shelling continues apace around eastern Ukrainian towns.

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