By Simon Smedley • 09 February 2023 • 8:04
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Speaking alongside Mr Sunak in Dorset yesterday, Wednesday February 8, Mr Zelensky asked for the UK to provide fighter jets to Ukraine – something Western allies have so far declined to do.
The plea was made during a surprise visit to the UK, Mr Zelensky’s first since his country’s conflict with Russian forces began at the beginning of last year.
“We have freedom, give us wings to protect it,” Mr Zelensky urged a joint session of the UK Parliament at Westminster Hall.
“Freedom will win – we know Russia will lose,” he told the crowd of MPs and peers in the Hall, adding the UK was with his country on a march to “the most important victory of our lifetime”.
The BBC also report that Mr Sunak went on to tell a news conference that “nothing is off the table” and jets remain “part of the conversation”.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has been tasked with investigating what planes the UK may be able to provide, according to Downing Street.
However, the spokesperson stressed that this would be a “long-term” option.
Mr Zelensky later took his request for fighter jets to France and Germany yesterday evening, February 8, after he had met the UK officials.
He met the two countries’ leaders – Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz – in Paris, where they also pledged ongoing support to Ukraine.
Mr Zelensky is set to make more requests for jets when he meets European Union leaders in Brussels later today, Thursday, February 9.
He reportedly believes the fighter jets and long-range missiles are important in addition to the Leopard 2 tanks Western nations have recently committed to supplying.
Russia has warned there would be a “response” from Moscow if anyone did provide Ukraine with aircraft.
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