The Ukrainian Armed Forces has received 20 out-of-service UK military Saxon armoured vehicles from an undisclosed British company, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov has revealed.
Turchynov said they will be refurbished by Ukroboronprom to help address Ukrainian Army requirements.
Turchynov said: "These Saxon came without armaments; we will equip them with combat unit[s] to provide effective fire cover for the National Guard or other units, in which these armoured vehicles will be supplied."
After ground testing, the vehicles are expected to be introduced into the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to reports, a further 55 will be supplied in the near future.
A UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson was quoted by BBC News as saying that the sale had been organised through the Disposal Services authority, which manages obsolete military equipment, and does not represent an escalation of British involvement in Ukraine.
The spokesperson said: "As the foreign secretary (Philip Hammond) has made clear, our policy since the beginning of the crisis has been to supply non-lethal assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
"There has been no change to this and we have not provided lethal assistance. These vehicles were provided unarmed under a commercial contract dating 2013 by a private company.
"They offer protective mobility to personnel and are defensive in nature. They are not close-combat vehicles."
Manufactured by GKN Sankey, the Saxon 4×4 armoured personnel carrier was adopted by the UK Army for Infantry Battalions in 1983 and were taken out of the service between 2005 and 2006.
The delivery comes as the Ukrainian Government and pro-Russian separatists agreed to a ceasefire after a week of talks that were led by France and Germany.
Several countries, including the US and Canada, are considering the provision of lethal assistance to Ukrainian forces.
According to a UN estimate, more than 5,000 people have been killed and several thousands of others displaced since the conflict started in April last year.
Image: A UK Army Saxon Recovery version at the REME Museum in West Berkshire, UK. Photo: courtesy of Orp20.