The top UK diplomat warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that Britain will support Ukraine until they win the war, after Moscow was angered by London’s decision to send tanks.
“The message we’re sending to Putin -- and, frankly, anyone else that cares to be watching -- is that we made a commitment to support Ukrainians until they are victorious,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on a visit to Washington.
“What Putin should understand is we are going to have the strategic endurance to stick with them until the job is done and the best thing that he can do to preserve the lives of his own troops is to recognize that,” he said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Cleverly, who will later Tuesday hold talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is visiting the United States and Canada after Britain became the first country to meet Ukraine’s request for Western heavy tanks.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his government would provide 14 Challenger 2 tanks.
European countries have previously supplied Kyiv with modernized versions of Soviet tanks and the United States and France have committed to lighter versions, with Washington sending Bradley armored vehicles.
Cleverly said that Britain decided to send tanks to the Ukrainians because “what we recognize they need is the ability to push back hard in the east and the in the south,” areas which Russia has tried to seize since its invasion launched nearly 11 months ago.
Cleverly said that Britain was committed to looking at other assistance to Ukraine as its needs evolve.