Bishop of Leeds asks about supply of tanks and armaments to Ukraine

The Bishop of Leeds asked a question on the donation of tanks and armaments to Ukraine on 19th January 2023, following an update on the ongoing conflict:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I endorse all that has been said thus far in strong support of the Government on this. First, the Minister gave us some details of how some of the armaments being given to Ukraine are being replenished. Have the Government made any assessment of what the head of the UK Armed Forces said recently about the impact on UK defence of the donation of tanks? Secondly, it is clear that Olaf Scholz is putting the onus of responsibility on to the United States—that is, if it will send tanks, the Germans will agree to Leopard tanks being sent. Are the Government putting pressure on the United States to do that?

Baroness Goldie (Con): My understanding is that the United States has sent tanks. It has also sent Bradley vehicles. I think I am correct in saying that, in addition to the UK, France and Poland have sent tanks. As to what pressure we can bring to bear, the meetings to which I referred in my responses to the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, and the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, reflect exactly the comprehensive and high-level discussions that are taking place. Everybody is clear that we all have to pull together in support of Ukraine. There is no doubt that, if the Leopard tank could be part of the facility provided to Ukraine, that would be an important addition.

The right reverend Prelate also asked about existing capability in the UK. I will say just two things about that. We have a mixture of equipment that we have provided and, if we take the recent example of the Challenger 2 tanks, I can assure him that there will be no long-term capability gap. We currently have 227 Challenger 2 tanks; we are giving 14. We will operate 148 upgraded Challenger 3 tanks in future so this donation will not reduce the total number of tanks that the Army holds. As to the other equipment, munitions and related material that we have provided, we are very careful to ensure that it does not in any way imperil the capability that we need to protect the security of this country.


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