UK sending armoured vehicles to Ukraine to help civilians flee besieged areas

The Foreign Office is donating 13 more vehicles that can resist the bullets, mines and explosive devices used by the Russian invaders.

03 May 2022

Britain is to send 13 protective armoured vehicles to Ukraine to evacuate civilians from besieged areas in the east of the country, the Government has said.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the fleet consists of highly specialised 4x4s fitted with armour and reinforced glass to resist the high-velocity bullets, anti-personnel mines and improvised explosive devices used by Russia’s military to attack civilians.

The donation from the FCDO’s fleet follows a direct request from the government in Kyiv for safe transport means for civilians.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “The intentional targeting of innocent civilians is a war crime.

“This latest donation of armoured vehicles will help protect innocent Ukrainians attempting to flee Russian shelling and support Ukrainian officials carrying out vital work.”

The steel-plated vehicles will also be used to transport officials to temporary command posts and help security authorities rebuild railway lines in eastern Ukraine.

The vehicles will start to arrive there in the coming days, with the FCDO working to dispatch them “as quickly as possible”.

The evacuation from the besieged city of Mariupol is continuing amid ongoing Russian bombardment. A senior US official warned that Moscow was preparing to formally annex the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the country’s east later this month.

Military vehicles stock
The UK has promised highly specialised 4x4s fitted with armour to help civilians flee (Benjamin Wright/PA)

Britain has also sent a rapid donation of food, has committed to donating up to 42 ambulances, and sent more than 5 million medical items to Ukraine.

Some £220 million, raised through the United Nations, Red Cross and charities, is also being supplied to Ukraine for medicine and other basic needs.

The UK has already shipped or promised air-defence systems, 120 armoured vehicles, anti-ship missiles and 5,000 anti-tank missiles.

The Government is also set to supply Stormer armoured vehicles, which carry Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles and are designed to provide a roving threat to Russian planes and helicopters, and has also offered to send Challenger 2 tanks to neighbouring Poland so Warsaw can donate its own to Ukraine.

The UK Ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons, has also returned to Kyiv as the UK reopens its embassy in the Ukrainian capital.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was set to salute the resistance of Ukrainians in the face of the Russian invasion during a virtual address to the country’s parliament after promising a further £300m in military aid.

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