Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeated his call for Western allies to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine to help it fight against Russia.
“We have freedom, give us wings to protect it,” he said, as he presented a Ukrainian fighter pilot helmet to Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle.
Some context: Britain announced Wednesday it would send more military equipment to Kyiv to help counter a possible Russian spring offensive. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK would expand training to Ukrainian fighter pilots and marines, while also promising a long-term investment in Ukraine’s military.
The UK will begin training Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard fighter jets, in what CNN understands would be the first official training program for Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter aircraft. There was however no mention of providing Ukraine with Western fighter aircraft that Zelensky has been calling for.
Kyiv will likely welcome the news that the UK’s training program is expanding to fighter jets, with Ukrainian officials having long called for Western allies to supply the planes.
No. 10 has so far refused to send its Typhoon or F-35 fighter jets to Ukraine, saying it was not “the right approach.” However, Wednesday’s announcement will raise hopes that there could be a future shift in attitude.