Britain has agreed to donate scores of amphibious vehicles and raiding craft to Ukraine as it cements its positions on the left bank of the Dnipro river.
The Ukrainian ministry of defence said the UK would supply 20 Viking amphibious vehicles and 23 raiding craft as part of a deal to strengthen its navy.
Ukrainian soldiers have secured a bridgehead over the river, north of Kherson city, since taking it for the first time in early November.
Much of the southern frontline in Ukraine now centres on the river, which its armed forces will have to cross to push Russian forces out of occupied Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Crimea.
The vehicles and vessels are part of a new naval coalition led by Britain and Norway that will also supply Ukraine with two minesweepers.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said: “Together, we will strengthen the Ukrainian navy, safeguard maritime transportation routes, and secure freedom of navigation,” as he hailed the new coalition.
Grant Shapps, Britain’s Defence Secretary, added: “This capability boost marks the beginning of a new dedicated effort by the UK, Norway and our allies to strengthen Ukraine’s maritime capabilities over the long term.”
It has not been disclosed when the vehicles and vessels will be deployed for the first time but they are likely to play a key role in any new Ukrainian attempts to cross the Dnipro and push south to Crimea or east towards the Sea of Azov.
Vikings are armoured, amphibious, all-terrain vehicles which operate on tracks and were originally designed for the Royal Marines.
They were deployed on land in Iraq and Afghanistan and are also used by the Austrian, Dutch, French and Swedish armies.
The Netherlands donated 28 of the Vikings to Ukraine in March this year, meaning its supply of the vehicles is set to almost double.