One day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zenesky’s plea in London for fighter jets, British Defence Minister Ben Wallace shot down Kyiv’s hopes for a fast delivery of such aircraft after Russia threatened “consequences.”
After Zelensky’s visit to London, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asked his defense minister to see how quickly the U.K. could provide fighter aircraft to Ukraine. Defence Minister Ben Wallace told the BBC: “The Ukrainians will not get British fighter jets immediately, (it is) a process that could take months.”
Wallace said that the U.K. instead wanted to help the Ukrainians with “alternative air defenses,” by which he meant long-range missiles and drones.
Russia’s embassy in London had responded to initial news that the U.K. may send fighter jets to Ukraine with a statement that indicated any such action will have “military and political consequences for the European continent and the entire world.”
It is unclear if Russia’s threat had any influence on the U.K.’s decision; however, Russia has issued a series of red lines that the West has continuously crossed, such as the supply of advanced main battle tanks, which are expected to arrive in Ukraine in the spring. It is also unclear what kind of retaliatory measures Russia would take in the event the West supplied fighter jets to Ukraine.
The British minister is now saying it was “more realistic and productive” for London to donate fighter jets to the Ukrainians only after the war so that Kyiv could guarantee its security.
As Remix News reported earlier, Zelensky presented House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle with the helmet of a Ukrainian fighter pilot, within which was inscribed, “We have freedom. Give us wings to protect it.”
“I appeal to you and the world with (these) simple and yet most important words: combat aircraft for Ukraine. Wings for freedom,” Zelensky told MPs and peers during his address in Westminster Hall.