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Volodymyr Zelensky Pays UK A Surprise Visit To Push For Fighter Jets

Volodymyr Zelensky pays UK a surprise visit to push for fighter jets on Wednesday. He was on the first stop of an unannounced diplomatic tour of European capitals, and he had a strong message for British lawmakers.

Kenzo Norman
Feb 08, 20232218 Shares88709 Views
Volodymyr Zelensky pays UK a surprise visit to push for fighter jetson Wednesday. He was on the first stop of an unannounced diplomatic tour of European capitals, and he had a strong message for British lawmakers.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago, Zelensky has only made two trips outside of Russia. On his second trip, he gave a speech to the joint houses of the British parliament in which he skillfully stroked the national ego while making a direct plea for more heavy weapons, such as fighter jets.
"London has stood with Kyiv since day one," he said. "Since the first seconds and minutes of the full-scale war. Great Britain, you extended your helping hand when the world had not yet come to understand how to react."
Zelensky gave Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the helmet of a Ukrainian fighter pilot with the message "We have freedom. Give us wings to protect it."
Zelensky spoke firmly to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other members of the Cabinet, who were standing in front of him in the historic Westminster Hall. This is the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster, where the late Queen Elizabeth lay in state and where US President Obama gave a similar speech in 2011.
He thanked the British leader, "Rishi," who had said earlier that the UK would start teaching Ukrainian pilots how to fly fighter jets that meet NATO standards. He also brought up the name of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been a strong supporter since the beginning.
"Boris, you got others united when it seemed absolutely, absolutely impossible," Zelensky said. "Thank you." Then, talking to the whole crowd, he said, "You, all of you, you all showed your grit and character back then. Strong British character."

'Wings For Freedom': Zelenskiy Pleads For Fighter Jets In London Speech

Zelensky landed in Britain at a time when Kyiv is asking the West to send more weapons and military support to stop Russian advances. Later, on Wednesday evening local time, he went to Paris. There, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met him at the Elysee Palace.
During a joint press conference, Zelensky said that he was "thankful for the spontaneous idea for us to meet and talk" and that "France and Germany have the potential to be game changers." He also said that "the sooner Ukraine manages to get long-range weapons and modern planes, the stronger our coalitions will be."
Zelensky got off a UK Royal Air Force C-17 transport plane at Stansted Airport, north of London. Sunak was there to meet him. Sunak posted a picture of the two of them holding hands on the runway in a tweet. The caption says, "Welcome to the UK, President @ZelenskyyUa," and the hashtag #GlorytoUkraine is also included.
Later, he went to Buckingham Palace to meet King Charles III. The king told Zelensky:
We’ve all been worried about you and thinking about your country for so long, I can’t tell you.- King Charles III
In a Telegram message sent after his meeting with the King, Zelensky congratulated Charles on his recent rise to the throne and wished the British people peace and prosperity.
It is an honor for me to be the first President of Ukraine in the history of Ukrainian-British relations to be honored by the British monarch with an audience. I am grateful to His Majesty for the warm welcome and for supporting Ukrainian citizens who have taken refuge from the war in the United Kingdom.- Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky
Zelensky also met with Ukrainian troops being trained by British forces on Wednesday. At a press conference, he said that getting Ukraine more weapons is his top priority on the battlefield.
According to Zelensky speaking alongside Sunak at Lulworth Camp in Dorset, England:
We have no way out. We have to stand firm. We need armored vehicles, we need tanks, we need fighter jets, and obviously, we spent a lot of time talking about this together.- Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky
Zelensky made the case for Russia's defeat in his speech to Parliament. "We know Russia will lose. We know victory will change the world, and this will be a change the world needed. The United Kingdom is marching with us toward the most important victory of our lifetime. The victory over the very idea of war."
"After we win, any aggressor, it doesn’t matter, big or small, will know what awaits him if he attacks international order," he continued.

Zelensky asks allies for fighter jets on UK visit • FRANCE 24 English

Zelensky gave Speaker Hoyle the helmet and told him that it belonged to "a real Ukrainian pilot" who was "one of our most successful aces."
"I trust this symbol will help us for our next coalition, a coalition of the planes. And I appeal to you and the world with simple yet most important words: Combat aircraft for Ukraine. Wings for freedom."
Since Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago, Zelensky has only been outside of his own country twice. In December, he went to Washington, DC. Zelensky has been trying hard to get military help from Western allies, but Ukrainian officials have warned him not to do so. Moscow is getting ready for an attack in the spring.
Wednesday, Britain said it would send more military equipment to Kyiv to help protect against a possible spring offensive by Russia. Sunak said that the UK would train more Ukrainian fighter pilots and marines and would also invest in Ukraine's military over the long term.
The UK will start training Ukrainian pilots on fighter jets that meet NATO standards. According to CNN, this will be the first official program for training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter planes. Zelensky has been asking for Western fighter planes to be sent to Ukraine, but this was not mentioned.
Kyiv is likely to be happy to hear that the UK is adding fighter jets to its training program. Ukrainian officials have been asking Western allies to give them planes for a long time. The UK is "actively" thinking about whether or not to send jets to Ukraine, a spokesman for Sunak told PA Media on Wednesday.
Ben Wallace, the British Defense Secretary, is looking into which planes could be given to Ukraine. However, Downing Street said that a decision on whether or not to give the jets has not been made yet.
The PM's spokesman said:
I think you can see from the steps that we are taking that we are willing to put Ukraine in the position where, once we have reached the goals of training pilots, they are able to fly these type of jets. What we have not made a decision on is whether we send UK fighter jets. Obviously there is an ongoing discussion among other countries about their own fighter jets, some of which are more akin to what Ukrainian pilots are used to.- Britain Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
So far, the UK has said it is not "the right approach" to send its Typhoon or F-35 fighter jets to Ukraine. But the news on Wednesday will give people hope that things might change in the future. Downing Street said that the UK also said it would give Ukraine "longer-range capabilities," but did not say more.
Kyiv asked NATO allies for main battle tanks to help strengthen its military, which had been using tanks from the Soviet era up until now.
The UK was the first country to say that it would send 12 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. This was in the middle of January. After weeks of pressure, Germany and the US both said they would send tanks, the M1 Abrams from Germany and the Leopard 2 from the US.
During Zelensky's visit, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that "Russian military and Kremlin elites" would face more sanctions.
The UK package goes after six companies that sell military equipment like drones, as well as eight people and one company that are linked to "nefarious financial networks that help keep Kremlin elites rich and powerful," according to a government statement.

Conclusion

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February of last year, the UK government has already put sanctions on hundreds of Russian people and businesses, according to data from the UK government.
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