After years of resisting providing Ukraine with some of the West’s most high-powered weaponry, Britain indicated Saturday that it would give battle tanks to Ukrainian forces to help prepare them for anticipated Russian assaults this spring.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine about his "ambition” to provide British main battle tanks and additional artillery systems, according to a statement from Downing Street. Before the British statement, Zelenskyy thanked Sunak for "the decisions that will not only strengthen us on the battlefield, but also send the right signal to other partners.”

The British Challenger 2s would be the first Western-made battle tanks to be sent to Ukraine since Russia invaded last February. Officials in the United States and Europe have long worried that sending tanks and other powerful weapons that would substantially increase Ukraine’s ability to hurt Russian forces could prompt President Vladimir Putin of Russia to escalate the conflict, even by potentially attacking Western targets or deploying small-scale nuclear weapons.