Boris Johnson backs calls for the West to send F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv and urges to “give the Ukrainians what they need as fast as possible.”
Holding talks with senior politicians in Washington Johnson is trying to bolster more support for Kyiv.
Speaking to Fox News Johnson was asked about the F-16 situation, he said, “All I will say is that every time we have said it will 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.
“I remember being told it was the wrong idea to give them the anti-tank shoulder-launched missiles. Actually, they were indispensable and the United States – under (former US president) Donald Trump – gave them the Javelins as well.
“They were indispensable in the battles to repel the Russian tanks.
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“People said that we shouldn’t give the Himars (rocket launchers). I remember having arguments about the multiple-launch rocket systems, the MLRS.
“Actually, they have proved invaluable to the Ukrainians.
“We said the same about tanks.
“All I’m saying is save time, save money, save lives. Give the Ukrainians what they need as fast as possible.”
Fox News asked the former British Prime Minister if Vladimir Putin would use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Johnson said, “He probably doesn’t even stop the Ukrainians if he did that – and we would put his economy into such a cryogenic paralysis that Russia wouldn’t come out of it for decades – so he’s not going to do that.”
The Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has also called on Western forces to “act without delay” with sending fighter jets, as Ukraine are in the “crucial stage of the war.”
The spokesman of the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Yuriy Ignat, told the French TV channel La Chaîne Info by having the F-16s this will enable them to strike both ground and air targets.
Ignat said, “We are inferior in technology. Therefore, the need is serious. It is necessary to create up to five brigades of tactical aviation with one type of multi-purpose aircraft of the Western model. What type it will be, is now being determined.
“Currently, the F-16 is the most likely candidate to replace the old Soviet aircraft, because there are certain objective reasons for this. And this is not a one-man decision, constant consultations are held with partners.”
He added, “It is clear that we will not be able to get everything at once, but a phased transition to a new multi-role aircraft is a requirement of time.”
The Lithuanian President said, “I have seen many red lines that have been drawn, and sometimes I even get the impression that these red lines are not drawn by us, Western countries, democracies, but by the terrorist state Russia, which is trying to draw them through fear and threats. And it is trying to impose.
“I’m not talking only about tanks. Once upon a time, the status of a candidate for joining the EU was a taboo, a red line. I remember it well.
“This Rubicon has been crossed, so I really hope that this red line – if it really exists, and I think it only exists in our heads – will also be crossed.
“Because fighter jets and long-range missiles are an essential military aid, and at this crucial stage of the war, when the tipping point is about to happen, it is vital that we act without delay.
“So my answer to your question is that these red lines must be crossed.”
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