Rishi Sunak says UK stands 'ready to support all allies' to supply Ukraine with fighter jets 'now'

18 February 2023, 20:01 | Updated: 18 February 2023, 23:51

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the UK is "ready to support all allies" if they can provide fighter jets to Ukraine immediately.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the UK is "ready to support all allies" if they can provide fighter jets to Ukraine immediately. Picture: Getty

By Chris Samuel

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the UK is "ready to support all allies" if they can provide fighter jets to Ukraine immediately.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, the PM said the UK was already "leading" on training Ukrainian fighter jet pilots and reiterated his call for world leaders to "double down" in support for the war-torn country.

Earlier, Mr Sunak warned that every day brings "more pain and suffering" for the country's people.

Asked if the UK would send weapons that could target Crimea, which was annexed by the Russians in 2014, he said NATO must help Kyiv gain a decisive advantage on the battlefield with heavy tanks, air defence, artillery and long-range weapons.

Mr Sunak said Ukraine needed military backing by allies to counter the expected spring onslaught by Russian president Vladimir Putin's troops.

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But he also argued that Western countries must also start to put in place the foundations to strengthen Kyiv's long-term security.

Mr Sunak said UK tanks and the British government starting to train Ukrainian pilots to fly Nato-standard fighter jets was an example of how Britain was playing its part. Germany and the US have also recently given tanks to Ukraine to fight off the Russian invasion.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gives a television interview on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 18, 2023 in Munich, Germany.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gives a television interview on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 18, 2023 in Munich, Germany. Picture: Getty

He told the summit: "Our collective efforts are making a difference but with every day that passes, Russian forces inflict yet more pain and suffering.

"Now the only way to change that is for Ukraine to win." He added: "We need to do more to boost Ukraine's long-term security.

"We must give them the advanced, Nato-standard capabilities that they need for the future.

"And we must demonstrate that we'll remain by their side, willing and able to help them defend their country again and again."

Mr Sunak also said securing a lasting peace would mean "upholding international law" and making Moscow pay reparations to Kyiv.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) shakes hands with US Vice President Kamala Harris as they meet at the 59th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 18, 2023 in Munich, southern Germany.
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) shakes hands with US Vice President Kamala Harris as they meet at the 59th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 18, 2023 in Munich, southern Germany. Picture: Getty

Others to speak at the summit on Saturday included US vice-president Kamala Harris and Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.

Next Friday marks the one-year anniversary of Putin's invasion.

Mr Sunak's today come after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty that the UK must keep supporting Ukraine.

Ukrainian servicemen in the war with Russia.
Ukrainian servicemen in the war with Russia. Picture: Getty

Shelagh told Sir Keir: "There are people who either don't want to or really genuinely don't understand why this is our fight. Tell them why it's our fight in your view."

He: "Oh I can do that very easily - let me first try and do that as a human being."The Leader of the Opposition talked about meeting people who had lost their friends and neighbours in the war.

Ukraine Defence adviser: 'We will win' 

"You can in those circumstances absolutely understand why people fled the country seeing what was happening in their neighbourhoods," he said.

"Anybody who has any doubt about this just needs to reflect for a moment on that," Sir Keir added.

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