Former prime minister steps up pressure on Rishi Sunak to sign off on deliveries of warplanes to Kyiv
By Telegraph Reporters 8 February 2023
Boris Johnson has put pressure on Rishi Sunak to send jets and tanks to Ukraine.
The former prime minister said more than 100 Typhoon jets were held by the UK and “the best single use” for them would be in Ukraine.
His call came after Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian President, used an address to Parliament to plead for warplanes, saying his country needed “wings for freedom”.
Mr Johnson, who struck up a close relationship with Mr Zelensky while in No 10, said: “It is time to give the Ukrainians the extra equipment they need to defeat Putin and to restore peace to Ukraine.
“That means longer range missiles and artillery. It means more tanks. It means planes.
“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.”
He said supplying the weapons now would help make the world safer by stopping Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Mr Johnson acknowledged that supplying Typhoon jets to Ukraine would require the support of Germany, Italy and Spain – the other countries involved in its development – but he insisted that should not be an issue.
“Today’s investment in helping Ukraine will avert instability and chaos for years to come,” Mr Johnson said.
“By helping Ukraine to push back Putin, we can make our world safer – and above all, save an innocent country from destruction.
“It is true that the Typhoon is a four-nation plane and that we require the approval of allies for export. But there is no reason to think that Germany or others should oppose our decision – these are UK planes.”
He added: “In the year since Putin’s barbaric invasion, we have learnt that he fears nothing except the heroism of the Ukrainians and western willingness to give them the tools they need.
“Every time we have stepped up with more military support the Ukrainians have responded and turned the tide of war. Now is the time to give them exactly what they need to finish the job.”
The UK has so far refused to supply planes, arguing it would take years to train pilots to use the sophisticated F-35s and Typhoons in RAF service.
But Mr Sunak has now signalled that Ukrainian pilots will be trained on the jets as part of a long-term strategy.
Yes Boris is Ukraine’s first citizen.
Rishi will not feel “pressure” from Boris. They have a fairly decent relationship. In fact it will help consolidate a decision that I’m sure he’s already made.
Sky news :
“Zelenskyy’s powerful message to MPs achieved a rare feat: Liz Bates, Sky News Political Correspondent
Westminster Hall has hosted some of the world’s most iconic political figures and today was no exception. On the famous steps where Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela have previously stood, President #Zelenskyy addressed an enraptured audience of MPs, Peers and parliamentary staff.
For a man who has been thrust onto the world stage under the most horrifying circumstances, he continues to conduct himself with strength, poise and a sense of humour.
He told the story of his first state visit to London in 2020, when he visited Buckingham Palace and parliament and was invited to sit in a chair in Churchill’s war room. Back then he said he could not put the feeling into words, but now he knew it was “how bravery takes you through unimaginable hardship to victory”.
Later he joked that back then he was thankful for the “delicious English tea” he had been given, but that this time it was the “powerful English planes” for which he was most grateful.
The Ukrainian President went on to pay tribute to Britain for being the first to stand side by side with him and his people in the face of Russian aggression. In particular, he thanked Boris Johnson for rallying international allies when the conflict began almost a year ago and Rishi Sunak for the ongoing military support, more of which has been announced today.
Looking ahead to his meeting with King Charles he said that the monarch was “a King who had been an air force pilot” and that in Ukraine “every air force pilot is a king”.
At that moment he presented Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle with a gift, the helmet of one of Ukraine’s most successful fighter pilots, inscribed with an arresting phrase: “We have freedom, give us wings to protect it.”
The address went on for no more than half an hour, but it was undoubtedly a moment that will last in the minds of those present and beyond.
Its powerful message achieved that rare feat, uniting Westminster, in admiration for the Ukrainian president’s resilience and determination to support him to victory.”
No Typhoons is not a good idea.
Too much sensitive equipment and very hard to maintain. Also there are too many arrsegiving countries that need to give permission.
F-16’s and Gripen’s are much more suitable and can be fielded much sooner.