As he launched a tour of Europe, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy encouraged the United Kingdom and other Western allies to deploy combat aircraft to assure his country’s success in the conflict with Russia.
Zelenskyy met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles on Wednesday, his second travel overseas since the war began a year prior.
Later, he was scheduled to dine with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris.
In an address to the UK Parliament in London, the Ukrainian leader thanked the UK for its support and renewed his request for “wings for freedom” combat aircraft.
To now, Western nations have refrained from giving planes or weaponry capable of attacking deep within Russia.
The president presented the speaker of the House of Commons with an air force helmet and declared, “We have freedom. Give us wings to safeguard it!”
Later in the day, during a joint news conference with Zelenskyy, Sunak stated that “nothing is off the table” in terms of supplying Ukraine with jets to combat Russia.
“The first step in being able to deploy modern aircraft is having soldiers or aviators who are qualified to operate them. This procedure requires some time. Today, we began this procedure,” Sunak stated.
According to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency, the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom advised London against sending fighter jets to Ukraine, stating that such a move would have repercussions for the entire world.
The United Kingdom has announced intentions to expand a training program for Ukraine’s military to ensure that its pilots can fly advanced jets that meet NATO standards.
The announcement did not include a date or a promise to supply British jets to KiKyivHowever, this decision could pave the way for other nations to send aircraft.
King Charles and Zelenskyy also met at Buckingham Palace.
In response, the king stated that “we have all been concerned about you and your country for such a long time that I cannot tell you.”
Jonah Hull of Al Jazeera said from London that Zelenskyy’s visit is “perhaps a recognition, an acknowledgment of Britain’s unwavering support for Ukraine.”
“This is unquestionably a chance for President Zelenskyy, who is not only a wartime leader but also a tenacious advocate for international support for Ukraine,” Hull stated.
The Europe tour, which will include a Europe Union summit in Brussels, will follow Zelenskyy’s unexpected December trip to the United States. Meeting the British, French, and German leaders on the same day was an indication of his assiduous efforts to cultivate Western opinion.
Scholz stated that he anticipated strong support for Ukraine at this week’s Europe summit and a new wave of sanctions on Russia around the anniversary of the invasion.
Scholz, who was more cautious in public than other Western leaders over military deliveries, said that decisions about weapons should be negotiated in private, rather than announced in a “public competition to outdo one another.”
In the early months of this year, according to his defense minister, Western allies could supply a first battalion of approximately 31 Leopard 2 combat tanks to Ukraine.
Western nations have increased their aid offers, including the gift of tanks last month. Kyiv still desires both longer-range missiles and airplanes.
Russia has regained momentum, sending tens of thousands of newly mobilized troops to the front, following significant Ukrainian successes in the second part of 2022.
Winter clashes described by both sides as some of the fiercest in the war have yielded incremental gains for Russian soldiers.
As the anniversary of the invasion, February 24, approaches, Kyiv has stated that it expects Moscow to expand this attack with a major push.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated that Russian forces in Ukraine are concentrating on “waging a counteroffensive” to seize entire control of the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Read More: The US Is Sending NASAMS To Ukraine