Ukrainian tank crews have completed training on Challenger 2 tanks in the UK and have returned home to continue their fight.
Press Release, Whitehall, 27 March 2023: Ukrainian tank crews have completed training on Challenger 2 tanks in the UK and have returned home to continue their fight against Russia’s illegal invasion.
The training began shortly after the announcement in January that the UK would donate 14 Challenger 2 tanks and accompanying ammunition and spare parts to aid Ukraine. UK military trainers spent several weeks training Ukrainian personnel how to operate and fight with the tanks. Instruction included how to command, drive and work together as a Challenger 2 tank crew and effectively identify and engage targets.
The Challenger 2 tank marks a step change in capability for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, ensuring they are better able to protect their crews and offering them some of the most modern and sophisticated gunnery systems in the world.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “It is truly inspiring to witness the determination of Ukrainian soldiers having completed their training on British Challenger 2 tanks on British soil.
“They return to their homeland better equipped, but to no less danger. We will continue to stand by them and do all we can to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
Lieutenant Colonel John Stone, who oversaw the training mission said: “It has been a privilege for the Combat Manoeuvre Centre team to deliver this training to our Ukrainian partners. We have all been hugely impressed with the level of competence displayed and have no doubt that that our friends will use the Challenger 2 tanks most effectively in the battles to come as they fight to defend their homeland.”
A Ukrainian tank commander said: “I fight for my future, for future of my country and for future of my family. We will fight. This tank for us is like a diamond, I think it is the best tank in the world.”
The UK is sending Challenger 2 tanks, which will soon be in the hands of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Support to Ukraine from the international community has been unwavering since Russia’s full-scale invasion over a year ago, on 24 February 2022. The UK has trained and equipped the Armed Forces of Ukraine with a range of capabilities to help them defend their territory including anti-tank weapons, armoured vehicles, and air defence systems.