The British Prime Minister has tasked the Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to “actively” look at what fighter jets can be sent to Ukraine to fight against Russia.
This comes after the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the UK on Wednesday for a surprise visit which was kept Top Secret.
Zelensky has asked the UK for fighter jets and the Prime Minister said earlier today that there are plans to train Ukrainian fighter pilots so they can learn to fly sophisticated NATO standard jets.
Downing Street confirmed that they will not be sending any jets immediately which will part of a “long term solution” for Ukraine.
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The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “The Prime Minister has tasked the Defence Secretary with investigating what jets we might be able to give but to be clear, this is a long-term solution, rather than a short-term capability, which is what Ukraine needs most now.”
He added, “I think you can see from the steps that we are taking that we are willing to put Ukraine in the position where, once we have reached the goals of training pilots, they are able to fly these type of jets.
“What we have not made a decision on is whether we send UK fighter jets. Obviously there is an ongoing discussion among other countries about their own fighter jets, some of which are more akin to what Ukrainian pilots are used to.”
Rishi Sunak’s spokesman continued, “We’ve confirmed there will be a training programme for Ukrainian pilots and the Defence Secretary is actively looking at whether we send jets.”
The announcement signals a major shift for Downing Street and government official said that “as part of that long-term capability investment.”
They added that the UK will work with Ukraine and international allies “to co-ordinate collective support to meet Ukraine’s defensive needs.”
During Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) both the Labour leader and Sunak showed a strong unity of support for Ukraine and President Zelensky.
The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told MPs in the House of Commons, “Putin and all his cronies must stand at the Hague and face justice” when the war in Ukraine is over.
Sunak told MPs that he has discussed the situation with President Zelensky and said, “I’m hopeful we will see the first indictments very shortly” at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Boris Johnson has told MPs that the UK should provide more equipment to Ukraine and this should include fighter jets and vast amounts of ammunition for them.
The former Prime Minister said, “We have more than 100 Typhoon jets. We have more than 100 Challenger 2 tanks.
“The best single use for any of these items is to deploy them now for the protection of the Ukrainians – not least because that is how we guarantee our own long-term security.”