UK Defense: No approach towards blocking fighter jet supply to Ukraine
This contradicts UK PM Rishi Sunak’s statement that his country won’t be supplying Ukraine with military aircraft.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed the high possibility of supplying Ukraine with military aircraft and the possibility of not supplying it is not the approach taken “for now”.
“I’ve been involved with this for a pretty long time. And I’ve learned two things: Never rule anything in and never rule anything out…” he said, adding, “For now, I don’t think that’s the right approach … What’s going to move on this conflict this year is going to be the ability for Ukrainians to deploy western armour against Russia," Wallace said.
However, this contradicts UK PM Rishi Sunak’s statement that his country won’t be supplying Ukraine with military aircraft.
He expressed that it is not considered "practical" since "UK’s Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets are extremely sophisticated and take months to learn how to fly."
Moreover, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Sunak to "forget Putin" and send fighter jets to Ukraine.
During a surprise visit to Washington, Johnson said there was no reason to delay support to Ukraine's forces. "Save time, save money, save lives. Give the Ukrainians what they need as fast as possible. Get this thing done. Forget about Putin. Go for economic stability & long term peace & prosperity," the disgraced former Prime Minister told FoxNews.
"Every time we’ve said it would be a mistake to give such and such weaponry to Ukraine, we ended up doing it," he added
UK army may be weakened
The UK is playing a critical role in providing Kiev with lethal weapons, with the Prime Minister becoming the first leader to vow to send Western tanks - a leadership role he seemed eager to emphasize when he turned to social media after Germany and the US followed suit.
"Really pleased they've joined the UK in sending main battle tanks to Ukraine," Sunak said in a tweet last Wednesday. "We have a window to accelerate efforts to secure lasting peace for Ukrainians. Let's keep it up," he added.
Good call with @POTUS 🇺🇸, @Bundeskanzler 🇩🇪, @EmmanuelMacron 🇫🇷 & @GiorgiaMeloni 🇮🇹 this evening.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) January 25, 2023
Really pleased they've joined the UK in sending main battle tanks to Ukraine.
We have a window to accelerate efforts to secure a lasting peace for Ukrainians.
Let's keep it up.
Despite this aggressive tone, Sunak omitted to include closing capability gaps in his military forces as one of his top five goals in his maiden policy speech as prime minister in early January amid war in Ukraine.
"The PM's wartime approach is currently to cut the army, hollow it out further by gifting [equipment to Ukraine] and with no plans to replace [the weapons] for five to seven years," a defense ministry source said.
The British army chief, General Sir Patrick Sanders, warned on January 17 that sending tanks and artillery guns to Kiev will leave the British army weaker, BBC reported.
In an internal message sent to troops, Sanders said Ukraine would put British military assistance to "good use" against Russia. At the same time, he warned that this would leave the British army "temporarily weaker".
This comes after Sunak told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone conversation on January 14 that London would send Ukraine 14 Challenger 2 tanks.