Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday after meeting with British Prime Minister Sage Sunak that he hoped to reach an agreement soon on the delivery of Western fighter jets to counter Russian aggression.
Zelensky along with Sunak said, “We want to create a coalition of fighters and I’m very optimistic about that, we’ve talked about that and I think it’ll be very soon, they’ll figure out those decisions.” Which I consider very important.” , who declared himself ready to play “an important role in this coalition”.
According to the Ukrainian leader, details still needed to be worked out in order to reach an agreement, but he stressed: “This is a very important issue for us because we cannot control the sky.”
For his part, the British premier confirmed that he would be part of the alliance, but qualified: “It’s not going to be easy, building that fighter aircraft capability. It’s not just about supplying planes, but pilots.” There’s also about the training and all the logistics that go with it.” As he put it, “It is an important part of the long-term relationship between our countries.”
Before the meeting between the leaders, Zelensky thanked the United Kingdom for its support of Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022. “We are grateful with all our hearts; From Ukrainians, from our soldiers, thank you,” he said.
The British government speculated that Sunak would “confirm the additional supply by the United Kingdom of hundreds of air defense missiles and more unmanned aerial systems, including hundreds of new attack drones with a range of more than 200 kilometres.” According to London, “all of them will be delivered in the coming months as Ukraine prepares to step up resistance to Russian aggression.”
Reacting to the announcement, Russia swiftly attacked the decision. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “The United Kingdom wishes to stand up to countries that continue to arm Ukraine,” assuring Moscow that these deliveries would not have much impact on the conflict. but will “cause even greater destruction.”
The meeting at Checkers comes on the eve of the Council of Europe’s leaders meeting in Iceland, which Zelensky will address virtually, and the G7 summit in Japan, Sunak stressed. In a statement before the meeting, he said, “This is an important moment in Ukraine’s resistance to a terrible war of aggression that they did not choose or instigate.” “We should not let them down,” he added.
The UK last week became the first Western country to offer a long-range cruise missile, the Storm Shadow rocket, to Ukraine.