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

Election 2024 Biden

Biden uses Oval Office address to explain his decision to quit 2024 race

Breaking
Kamala Harris will replace Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee

‘History is in your hands’: Joe Biden admits ‘it’s time for younger voices’ in historic Oval Office address

Amanda Abbington quit the show in 2023, citing 'personal reasons'

Amanda Abbington compares Strictly to ‘the trenches’ and says she suffered ‘humiliating behaviour of a sexual nature’

Tom Tugendhat served as Security Minister in the last Tory Government

Tom Tugendhat ‘ready to leave ECHR’ if necessary as he becomes second Tory MP to launch leadership bid

The logo for CrowdStrike and a Spirit Airlines webpage (Richard Drew/AP)

CrowdStrike blames bug that led to global tech outage

Netanyahu has addressed the US Congress

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu addresses Congress as protests erupt on streets of Washington with five arrested

Netanyahu waves

Netanyahu vows to press on with war in Gaza until ‘total victory’

Andrew Tate in sunglasses and black top at the Court of Appeals building in Bucharest, Romania

Andrew Tate defamation case against trafficking accuser can go to trial – judge

Five people have been arrested inside the US Capitol building for attempting to disrupt an address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Five arrested in US Capitol building for attempting to disrupt Israeli PM Netanyahu's speech

Tributes at the Supernova music festival in Israel

October 7 survivor recounts sexual assault by Hamas attackers

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United States Congress tonight as he declared the "US and Israel must stand together."

Benjamin Netanyahu declares US and Israel 'must stand together' as he delivers speech to Congress

A Russian serviceman patrols a destroyed residential area in the city of Severodonetsk on July 12, 2022

Russia 'would have to lose over 1.5 million soldiers' to achieve Ukraine war goals, new head of British army claims

Exclusive
Steven Van de Velde will compete at this year's Olympics

Athlete who raped 12-year-old British girl shouldn’t be banned from the Olympics, Paula Radcliffe tells LBC

US Israel Netanyahu

Police use pepper spray as protesters march on Capitol ahead of Netanyahu speech

FBI Director Christopher Wray

Trump gunman researched Kennedy assassination, FBI director says

Exclusive
Seven Labour MPs were suspended

Rebel MP who was suspended by Labour over two-child benefit cap vote claims she was ‘bullied’ by party whips