No10 refuses to rule out sending fighter jets to aid Ukraine against Russia

·2-min read
A destroyed tank and a damaged apartment building in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine (Alexei Alexandrov/AP) (AP)
A destroyed tank and a damaged apartment building in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine (Alexei Alexandrov/AP) (AP)

Downing Street has refused to rule out sending fighter jets to Ukraine in order to aid the country’s fight against Russia.

Despite threats from the Kremlin, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman also refused to rule out training Ukrainian fighter pilots.

Speaking on Wednesday, the spokesman said: “Whilst there are no plans to send things like planes from the UK, certainly we want to work with other countries to ensure that Ukraine has the equipment that it needs."

On Tuesday, Armed Forces Minister James Heappey sparked fury in Russia after he claimed it would be acceptable for Ukraine to use western weapons on Russian military targets.

Speaking to BBC Radio, he said: “The question is, is it acceptable for our weapons to be used against legitimate Russian military targets by the Ukrainians?

“Firstly, it’s Ukrainians that take the targeting decision, not the people who manufacture or export the kit in the first place.

“And secondly, it is entirely legitimate to go after targets in the depth of your opponents to disrupt their logistics and supply lines.”

In response, Russia said it would be willing to take a proportionate response against the UK after what it called a “provocation” action from London.

Russia’s defence ministry said: “We would like to underline that London’s direct provocation of the Kyiv regime into such actions, if such actions are carried out, will immediately lead to our proportional response.

“As we have warned, the Russian Armed Forces are in round-the-clock readiness to launch retaliatory strikes with high-precision long-range weapons at decision-making centres in Kyiv.”

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov also claimed the world is now in danger of a third world war while Russia also sanctioned 287 MPs on Wednesday.

Despite the heightened rhetoric from the Kremlin, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told MPs that the Government was considering sending tanks to Poland who would in turn dispatch their own supplies to Ukraine.

Since the beginning of the year the UK has supplied 5,361 NLAW anti-tank bazookas, over 200 US-made Javelin missiles and 104 Starstreak high-velocity anti-tank weapons, Mr Wallace said.

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