Sam Blewett, Gavin Cordon and Dominic McGrath, PA Political Staff
Fri, 24 February 2023 at 8:49 am GMT
Britain is prepared to supply fighter jets to eastern European allies to enable them to release their Soviet-era planes to Ukraine, the Defence Secretary has said.
Ben Wallace said backfilling allies with the UK’s jets to free up their own would be a quicker way to bolster Kyiv’s defences than providing them with British Typhoons.
His comments came on Friday as Rishi Sunak prepared to lead the nation in a minute’s silence to mark a year of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s all-out assault on his neighbour.
Britain announced a new package of sanctions, imposing an export ban on every piece of equipment Russia has been found using on the battlefield in Ukraine.
The Prime Minister will use a call with G7 leaders, including US President Joe Biden, to “move faster” in arming Volodymyr Zelensky’s resistance against the invasion.
Britain will be training Ukrainian pilots on Nato-standard jets but allies have been reluctant to release the modern warplanes requested by the Ukrainian President.
Mr Wallace told Times Radio “the other quick way that Ukraine can benefit from fighter jets is for those countries in Europe that have Russian Soviet fighter jets – MiG 29s or Su-24s – if they wish to donate we can use our fighter jets to backfill and provide security for them as a result”.
“They are already configured to fight in a Nato way, where of course Ukraine isn’t,” he said.