Boris Johnson ‘wanted to scrap’ British tanks now being sent to Ukraine

Exclusive: Army chiefs had to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to persuade the then-prime minister to keep the Challenger 2 squadron, sources claim

Kim Sengupta
Wednesday 18 January 2023 12:15 GMT
Vladimir Putin needs to 'withdraw his war machine' from Ukraine, Boris Johnson says

Boris Johnson wanted to get rid of the British army tanks now being sent to Ukraine a year before the war started because he believed they had outlived their usefulness on the battlefield, it has been claimed.

The then-prime minister proposed scrapping the Challenger 2 squadrons in the 2021 defence review, and was only dissuaded from doing so after strenuous pressure from service chiefs, according to military sources.

There is now widespread consensus among Ukraine’s Western allies that modern tanks are urgently needed as the Kremlin prepares for the next phase of the war. Britain, in a major ratcheting-up of Nato support for Ukraine, announced at the weekend that it would send the Challenger 2 tanks. Germany is also expected to supply Leopard 2 tanks in preparation for large-scale combat which is due to resume once winter eases.

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