Wallace rules out immediate transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine

9 February, 04:51 PM
Ben Wallace (Photo:Tristan Fewings/Pool via REUTERS)

Ben Wallace (Photo:Tristan Fewings/Pool via REUTERS)

The UK will not transfer fighter jets to Ukraine immediately, and the process may take months, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in an interview with UK public broadcaster BBC on Feb. 9.

According to him, instead of urgently transferring jets to Kyiv, London will focus on “alternative methods” that would help cover Ukraine from the air, using long-range missiles and drones.

Wallace also pushed backed against a suggestion made by former UK prime minister Boris Johnson, claiming that Johnson’s suggestion that Britain could transfer 100 Typhoon combat aircraft to Ukraine is “unrealistic”, noting that that aircraft would most likely not be equipped for ground attacks.

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Wallace also explained that the Typhoon is produced by a coalition of countries and their permission would be needed for the transfer.

On Feb. 8, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the United Kingdom, where he called for the transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine. The media reported that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak instructed Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to study which aircraft London could send to Kyiv, though a final decision has yet to be made.

On Feb. 9, Zelenskyy spoke at the European Parliament. Before his address, President Roberta Metsola called on EU members to consider the possibility of providing Ukraine with fighter jets and long-range weapons.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is working on obtaining a initial squadron of foreign combat aircraft. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that some European partners of Ukraine have already “taken up” the issue of fighter jets.

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