Russia warns sending UK fighter jets to Ukraine will have ‘consequences for Europe and world’
Russia has warned that the UK sending fighter jets to Ukraine would have military and political consequences for Europe and the rest of the world.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to Britain on Wednesday and urged MPs to by supply his air force with advanced jets.
In a statement cited by Russian state news agencies, the Russian embassy in London said that if fighter jets were sent to Ukraine there would be “military and political consequences for the European continent and the entire world”.
“Russia will find a way to respond to any unfriendly steps taken by the British side,” TASS quoted the embassy as saying.
During a press conference with Mr Zelensky on Wednesday, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said that sending warplanes to Ukraine was “part of the conversation” between the pair.
No 10 confirmed that Mr Sunak had asked defence secretary Ben Wallace to investigate what jets the UK could potentially give to Ukraine.
Earlier in the day it was announced that Britain would start training Ukrainian air force pilots as part of a long-term strategy to safeguard Kyiv’s future.
During a press briefing at a military base in Dorset in the afternoon, Mr Sunak and Mr Zelensky appeared to suggest that it was not only the training of pilots that would hold up any handover of planes.
Mr Zelensky told reporters that, when it came to being supplied with Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter planes, “not everything depends just on the decision of Great Britain”.
His comment came after Mr Sunak hinted that allies involved in producing the planes would need to have a say.
The prime minister, asked about the prospect of giving British planes to Kyiv, said: “When it comes to fighter combat aircraft, of course, they are part of the conversation - indeed, we have been discussing that today and have been previously.
“That’s why we have announced today that we will be training Ukrainian air force on Nato-standard platforms because the first step in being able to provide advanced aircrafts is to have soldiers or aviators who are capable of using them.
“That is a process that takes some time. We’ve started that process today, that’s because we are keen to support the president and his country in delivering a victory.
“And nothing is off the table and our leadership on this issue is something we all collectively should be very proud of.”
Moscow has repeatedly accused the West of “dragging out” the conflict in Ukraine by supplying Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of advanced military equipment.
Kyiv has said the hardware has been crucial in helping them fight back against what they call Russia’s illegal war of aggression.
Additional reporting by agencies