Lloyd Austin, US secretary of defence, thanked Britain for its commitment of tanks to Ukraine, as he noted other allies reluctance.
The UK’s Challenger II will be the most capable armoured vehicle gifted to Kyiv to date and would enable the vehicles to survive direct hits from Russian T-72 tanks.
Mr Austin, speaking at Ramstein airbase in Germany, said: “The UK has announced a significant donation of Challenger tanks for Ukraine, and this is the first introduction of Western main battle tanks into Ukraine.
“May I also commend our British allies for for making this decision.”
He noted Germany had yet to commit Leopard 2 battle tasks, which Kyiv has told Western nations it needs to push back Russian advances.
Ukraine has long asked for modern main battle tanks, of which the most numerous in stockpiles are Germany’s Leopard 2 and the US’ Abrams.
Western defense officials on Friday failed to reach an agreement on exporting German-made battle tanks to Ukraine.
Boris Pistorius, the German defence minister, said that there were “good reasons for, good against” and said a decision could be “made in a week, in a month, or in a day.”