Boris demands Challenger tanks from Wiltshire be sent to Ukraine

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Boris Johnson has demanded more weapons be sent to Ukraine, saying there is no point having “Challenger tanks deployed in Wiltshire”, when the “Ukrainians could be using them now”. Speaking at the Atlantic Council think tank, he demanded the West “give the Ukrainians the tools to finish the job”.

Mr Johnson went on: “When Ukraine wins, we will have ended the fateful ambiguity that allowed Putin to make the catastrophic mistake.”

Hitting back at people opposed to sending more weapons to Ukraine, Mr Johnson said: “To those who say we may be somehow denuding our own arsenals by giving this support, I say what is the point of deploying those tanks in the US when the Ukrainians could be using them now to help assure our collective security for decades.”

He added: “What is the point of having the challenger tanks deployed in Wiltshire, which is an extremely safe area let me tell you that.”

In a statement ahead of the visit, he said: “I am here primarily to recognize and pay tribute to the immense U.S. contribution to the security of the Ukrainian people.

“My mission is to demonstrate that Ukraine will win – and that there is no conceivable case for delay in further supporting the Ukrainians to win this year. We should have no fear of escalation when it comes to the provision of weaponry.”

Mr Johnson’s US visit has fuelled speculation that he is planning a comeback as Prime Minister, with some branding the visit a “comeback tour”.

The recently ousted Prime Minister is in Washington DC visiting senior Republicans and gave an interview to Fox News where he criticised his successor for not sending fighter jets to Ukraine in its war with Russia.

He told Bret Brier on Fox: “Every time we’ve said it would be a mistake to give such and such an item of weaponry, we end up doing it and it ends up being the right thing for Ukraine.”

Mr Johnson added: “This is not the moment to delay any support for Ukraine. This is the moment to double down on our support.

“Give them what they need, whether it’s the tanks or the long-range artillery fire,’ he said.

“They need to kick Putin out of the whole of the territory. And I know how people in America have done incredible job.

“The faster Putin gets out of Ukraine, the quicker we return to stability and the more powerful the message we send to people like China.”

The former PM yesterday met with the new US Speaker in Congress Kevin McCarthy and is due to hold meetings today with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

As Prime Minister, Mr Johnson was widely praised for his response to the Ukraine crisis, with the UK being among the first to provide weapons to support Ukraine in the wake of the invasion.

Alongside other Western allies, the UK under Mr Johnson also imposed harsh sanctions on Russian targets.

Mr Zelensky described UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as an “important ally” and “friend” to Ukraine.

In January, the UK agreed to send next-generation tanks to Kyiv in a bid “to seize on the moment with an acceleration of global military and diplomatic support to Ukraine”, Downing Street said.

But Mr Johnson has called on the West to go further, by donating fighter jets to the war-torn country.

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