UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing mounting pressure from his predecessors Liz Truss and Boris Johnson to send fighter jets to Ukraine. Sunak’s government has not yet committed to providing Ukraine with British jets, citing the long training process for pilots on the Royal Air Force’s F-35 and Typhoon jets. During Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to London earlier this month, Sunak announced plans to train Ukrainian pilots to fly NATO-standard advanced fighter jets and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace is “actively looking at whether we send jets.” However, Wallace recently stated it could take years before the UK sends any planes to Ukraine, suggesting Zelenskyy may even have to wait until the war with Russia is over.
At a general debate on Ukraine in the House of Commons on Monday, both Truss and Johnson urged the UK government to step up its already substantial support for the war-torn country. Johnson argued that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “revanchist ambitions will be unchecked” unless he is “finally defeated in Ukraine.” He urged Western governments to speed up the delivery of modern battle tanks and for the UK to “cut to the chase” and send planes to Ukraine. Truss echoed Johnson’s sentiment, saying she “can’t wait to see fighter jets” being delivered to Ukraine.
The UK has already provided £2.3 billion in military aid to Ukraine—the largest package of support of any European nation and second only to the United States. On Tuesday, the government said it has pledged £10 million worth of material and equipment to Ukraine to repair its ailing infrastructure. The aid package includes rapid-build modular steel bridges and tunnel lining repair equipment. Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the effort would not only help reconnect the Ukrainian people but also help with global supply chains of grain and keep food prices across the world down.
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