Zelensky takes fighter jet plea to EU leaders - Dispatch Weekly

February 9, 2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes

​​The president of Ukraine is in Brussels after pleading with the leaders of France, Germany, and the UK to donate combat jets for the conflict with Russia.

On his second travel outside of Ukraine since the crisis started, President Volodymyr Zelensky lobbied EU leaders and spoke at the European Parliament.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and France’s President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed in Paris that Russia cannot win the conflict.

France and Germany, according to Mr. Zelensky, have the potential to “change the game.”

The sooner Ukraine receives powerful, long-range weapons and cutting-edge aircraft, he said, “the quicker this Russian aggression will end.” He praised European solidarity.

In a speech to the UK Parliament on Wednesday, he emphasised his call for fighter jets by saying, “Freedom will win – we know Russia will lose.” Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, informed him that “nothing was off the table.”

Following President Macron’s assurance that Ukraine could rely on his backing and that France was “committed to help Ukraine to triumph and the re-establishment of its rightful rights,” Mr. Zelensky took a flight to Brussels on Thursday.

“The perspective is unchanged: Russia must not win this conflict,” said Chancellor Scholz.

Despite the fact that Mr. Scholz has not expressed any openness to deploying combat jets, President Macron has done so in the past.

EU diplomats are aware that the Ukrainian leader’s address on Thursday will place a significant emphasis on the prompt delivery of weapons that have already been pledged as well as the Western planes that he is currently aggressively advocating.

Mr. Zelensky reportedly travels to get results and very occasionally visits his home country, according to a top Ukrainian official.

The EU leaders’ summit on Thursday, however, is an opportunity for Ukraine’s president to meet with all 27 EU leaders rather than a venue for making arms guarantees.

In addition to the Leopard 2 tanks that Western nations have lately agreed to delivering, he claims that fighter planes and long-range missiles are crucial. Despite claiming to have discussed the topic of combat planes in Paris, Mr. Zelenksy cautioned that there was “very little time” to deploy urgently required weapons.

It has occasionally been said that the chancellor of Germany and the president of France were too slow to help Ukraine.

Mr. Zelensky has previously voiced his displeasure with Mr. Macron for continuing to speak on the phone with Vladimir Putin of Russia after the invasion.

However, the president of Ukraine told the French publication Le Figaro that he thought Mr. Macron had evolved. He said that the fact that he “opened the door” to tank delivery last month demonstrated his dedication to helping Ukraine win.

The Russian embassy in London previously cautioned the UK against providing fighter jets, describing it as a move that would have global implications.

Since the start of the war, Moscow has repeatedly warned the West against supplying weapons and has threatened to take action against any “provocations.”

Downing Street confirmed that Ben Wallace, the UK’s defence secretary, was looking into suitable aircraft, but emphasised that this was “a long-term solution” and that training pilots may take years.

DW Staff

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