Liz Truss joins Boris Johnson in calling for fighter jets to be sent to Ukraine

20 February 2023, 21:48 | Updated: 21 February 2023, 08:15

Liz Truss has joined Boris Johnson in calling for fighter jets to be sent to Ukraine during her first speech in the House of Commons since quitting as Prime Minister.
Liz Truss has joined Boris Johnson in calling for fighter jets to be sent to Ukraine during her first speech in the House of Commons since quitting as Prime Minister. Picture: Alamy

By Chris Samuel

Liz Truss has joined Boris Johnson in calling for fighter jets to be sent to Ukraine.

Piling further pressure her successor Rishi Sunak to provide the war-torn nation with the warplanes its President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pleaded for, Ms Truss said: “We need to do all we can as fast as we can. My view is that does include fighter jets.

“We’ve been having a discussion about which are the best possible options, but having spoken to the Ukrainians about this months and months ago, I know what they want is any option.

“They want us to say, ‘Let’s work with our allies to get them an option they will be able to use,’ and we also need to make sure that they have the economic wherewithal to continue the fight.

Read more: Body found in river identified as missing mum-of-two Nicola Bulley who went missing 23 days ago

Read more: Gunman given 'licence to kill': Police slammed for Plymouth massacre as coroner rules victims unlawfully killed

"We need to make sure we’re continuing to support them internationally as well.”

Ms Truss made the remarks during her first speech in the House of Commons since she quit as PM.

Boris Johnson, who was sat close to his successor, reiterated his call for the West to provide Ukraine with jets.

He told MPs: “We said we would come to their aid in the event of an attack.

“Now is the time finally to do what we can to honour that promise."

"The Ukrainians are not just fighting for their freedom, but for the cause of freedom around the world.
“We should give them what they need - not next month, not next year, but now."

Liz Truss delivers a speech at a symposium of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), in Tokyo, Japan, February 17, 2023.
Liz Truss delivers a speech at a symposium of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), in Tokyo, Japan, February 17, 2023. Picture: Alamy

He added: “The story of the last 12 months is that sooner or later, having exhausted all other options, we give them what they need, from anti-tank missiles...to tanks and so, if that is the choice, sooner or later, then for heaven's sake let's give these weapons sooner."

Mr Zelenskyy urged the UK to provide his country fighter jets on a surprise visit to London earlier this month.The UK Government will start training Ukrainian pilots to fly NATO jets, but hasn't committed to supplying warplanes to the country.

It comes after US President Joe Biden pledged to send more weapons to Ukraine in a surprise trip to the country's capital almost one year after Russia's invasion.

It is Mr Biden's first trip to Ukraine since the start of the war and comes just a matter of days before the US President is scheduled to meet with Poland's President Andrzej Duda.

Read more: Extinction Rebellion stunt targets London Fashion Week red carpet and 'world's biggest plastic polluter' Coca-Cola

Read more: 'Nikki, you are no longer a missing person, you have been found' Nicola Bulley's family 'agony' as worst fears come true

A statement released by the White House on behalf of Mr Biden said the purpose of the visit was to "reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine's democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity".

Mr Biden made a $500m weapons pledge - with the US understood to be providing more rockets for HIMARS systems, and more anti-armour weapons to take out Russian tanks.

Mr Biden continued: "When Putin launched his invasion nearly one year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided. He thought he could outlast us. But he was dead wrong."

The President added that Ukraine will receive more "critical equipment" from the US, including artillery ammunition, air surveillance radars and anti-armour systems.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy outside Downing Street with Rishi Sunak during his visit to the UK.
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy outside Downing Street with Rishi Sunak during his visit to the UK. Picture: Alamy

In a joint address to the nation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy labelled Mr Biden's visit as "the most important visit of the whole history of US-Ukraine relations".

"I know there will be a very significant package of support to Ukraine...serving a clear signal that Russia's aggression has no chance," Zelenskyy said.

"Ukraine is grateful to you, Mr President" he added.

Mr Biden used his address to reaffirm the United States' stance against Russia's invasion, pointing out that Vladimir Putin has "just been plain wrong".

The president said: "Putin thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided... he’s counting on us not sticking together.

"He was counting on the inability to keep Nato united. He was counting on us not to be able to bring in others to the side of Ukraine.

"He thought he could outlast us. I don’t think he’s thinking that right now. He’s just been plain wrong."

President Biden and President Zelenskyy meet in Kyiv for the first time since Russia's invasion.
President Biden and President Zelenskyy meet in Kyiv for the first time since Russia's invasion. Picture: Getty

It comes after Mr Zekenskyy visited a number of European countries to appeal to leaders to provide Ukraine with fighter jets, which he described as "wings for freedom" in an address to the UK Parliament earlier this month.

After Mr Zelenskyy's address, it emerged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has asked Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to investigate what jets the UK could potentially give to Ukraine.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said it was a "long-term solution" and that "short-term capability" is what Kyiv needs most at the moment, a sentiment which has been echoed by the US.

President Zelenskyy's hopes for NATO members' jets to help fight back the Russian invasion would create "serious problems" for Poland, the nation's leader said in a backward step for Ukraine.

Warsaw leader Andrzej Duda told Laura Kuenssberg that handing the warring nation F-16 aircraft is a "very serious" decision that will be "not easy" to take.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The attacker is 15, police say

Teenager arrested after Sydney church stabbing, as police officer's jaw broken in 'riots'

Angry crowds gather outside Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Sydney following a stabbing

'Riot' breaks out after second Sydney stabbing with church goers holding attacker 'captive'

Rishi Sunak condemned Iran's actions

Rishi Sunak says Iran sought to 'plunge the Middle East into new crisis' with Israel attack as he urges 'restraint'

Supreme Court Thomas

Justice Thomas misses Supreme Court session with no explanation

Una Crown pictured with her husband Jack

Pensioner arrested on suspicion of murdering 86-year-old Una Crown, who was found dead at home 11 years ago

Donald Trump

Trump arrives at court for start of jury selection in historic hush money trial

London's public transport network is vast and comprehensive, but not without its faults...

London's most ‘bizarre and infuriating’ transport quirks including a five-metre cycle lane and ‘labyrinth’ Tube station

Derek Underwood has died aged 78

England and Kent cricket legend Derek Underwood dies aged 78, as county lauds 'one of its greatest ever players'

The former president was seen departing Trump Tower in the direction of the Manhattan Courthouse on Monday morning, where the historic criminal trial is set to commence.

'This is an assault on America': Defiant Donald Trump punches the air as criminal trial begins

Sydney church

Man arrested after reported stabbing at church in Sydney

Police confirmed a man has been arrested

Moment grinning attacker is detained by congregation after Sydney church stabbing that left four injured

Emmanuel Macron has admitted the Olympic opening ceremony may have to be moved from the Seine

Macron says France may move Paris Olympic opening ceremony from 'world first' River Seine location over ISIS threat

Hannah Waddingham has called out a photographer that asked her to "show some leg" at the Olivier Awards in London

Hannah Waddingham confronts photographer who asked her to ‘show some leg’ at Oliviers

Collapsed bridge

FBI ‘opens criminal investigation into Baltimore bridge collapse’

An empty section of the M25 between Junctions 10 and 11, in Surrey when it was closed in March for construction

Drivers warned as seven-mile stretch of M25 to close for an entire weekend

Exclusive
Liz Truss 'bugged' Boris Johnson while had Covid

Liz Truss admits she kept 'bugging' Boris Johnson in hospital when he was recovering from Covid