February 9, 2023

Zelensky approaches EU for fighter jets against Russia

By Biodun Busari

Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, will join a European Union summit in Belgium’s capital, Brussels, on Thursday, in his bid to make an appeal for more advanced weapons to resist Russian invasion.

Zelensky took his request for fighter jets to France and Germany as he met his French and German counterparts – President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris, on Wednesday evening.

Evening Standard reported that he also met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for more support to help his country’s struggle against Russia’s war that will mark a year by February 24.

Speaking at a joint news conference, on Wednesday evening, with Macron and Scholz, the Ukrainian leader said France and Germany had the potential to be “game-changers” in the battle against Russia by giving Ukraine battle tanks, fighter planes, and long-range missiles.

He said there had been discussions on the supply of the jets, warning there was “very little time” to provide the weaponry.

Macron said Ukraine could bank on France’s backing and that the country was “determined to help Ukraine to victory and the re-establishment of its legitimate rights.”

German Chancellor said, “The position is unchanged: Russia must not win this war.”

Whether that means the two nations may commit to supplying fighter jets remains unclear.

Starting his surprise trip in London on Wednesday, Zelensky used an inspiring speech to Parliament to urge the UK and Western allies to provide “wings for freedom.”

Sunak said, “nothing is off the table” when it comes to the question of providing fighter aircraft to Ukraine.

The Prime Minister said sending warplanes is “part of the conversation” about aid to Kyiv.

Zelensky warned that without supplies, including jets, ammunition and long-range missiles, there is a risk of “stagnation” in the conflict.

Downing Street confirmed that Sunak has asked Defence Secretary Ben Wallace to investigate what jets the UK could potentially give.