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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK Sending 20 Howitzers, Tens of Thousands of Shells to Ukraine to 'Crush Putin', Tabloid Says

Sputnik News

20220424
Ilya Tsukanov

The UK and its NATO allies have sent billions of dollars' worth of military equipment to Ukraine in recent months, including everything from old Soviet-era weapons clogging up the stockpiles of the Western bloc's Eastern European members, to heavy military equipment and thousands of advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile systems.

Britain plans to send 20 AS-90 self-propelled howitzers and 45,000 shells to Ukraine, the tabloid Express reported on Sunday, citing sources said to be familiar with the matter.

The Howitzers and shells will be sent to Poland, where Ukrainian forces will be trained in their use and maintenance, before being shipped off to Ukraine itself.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that London would be sending artillery support to Kiev, but did not specify at the time what kind.

"This will become an artillery conflict, they need support with more artillery, that is what we will be giving them...in addition to many other forms of support", Johnson told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Developed during the Cold War and introduced into service in the early-to-mid 1990s, the AS-90 is an armoured self-propelled howitzer armed with a 155 mm gun. The system has an operational on-road range of 420 km, and a firing distance of between 25 and 30 km, depending on shell calibre. British forces brought the howitzer along when they joined the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The UK announced last year that South Korea's Hanwha Defense would join UK contractors in competition for the "Mobile Fires Platform" programme, intended to replace the AS-90 by the end of the current decade. A total of 179 AS-90s were built between 1992 and 1995. The system's manufacturer is Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering.

The UK is one of several NATO members which have vowed to send heavy weaponry to Ukraine in recent weeks. France has promised to send its 155 mm Caesar six-wheel truck chassis-mounted howitzers and thousands of shells. The US, meanwhile, has committed to deliver M119A3 towed howitzers, Cold War-vintage M-113 armoured personnel carriers, and Mi-17 choppers which it originally purchased for its Afghan allies, but withdrew after the Kabul government collapsed to the Taliban last August.

The Russian military has seized thousands of tonnes-worth of Ukrainian military equipment and ammunition, and destroyed tens of thousands more in a campaign of precision air and missile strikes. Earlier this month, Moscow warned the Biden administration to stop arming Ukraine, saying the move could add fuel to the fire and cause "unpredictable consequences." The Russian military has made the destruction of Western weapons deliveries to Ukraine a priority target.

© Sputnik



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