Sunak heading for Ukraine fighter jets showdown at security summit

President Zelensky speaks of feeling of bravery during UK visit

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Rishi Sunak is gearing up for a clash this weekend over whether western allies should send fighter jets to Ukraine. The Prime Minister is set to meet other world leaders in Munich at a security conference with Ukraine and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s appeal for more arms is likely to be top of the agenda.

The conference comes as NATO allies in the EU, UK and USA decide what steps to take to help Ukraine in the war against Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Last week, President Zelensky put world leaders in Europe on the spot with his demands for them to supply fighter jets so he can help win the war in the sky raging across his country.

The Ukraine President’s tour started in London, where he gave an acclaimed speech to a joint sitting of the Commons and Lords in Westminster Hall, pleading for fighter jets.

As a symbol of the help he requires he event presented a pilot’s helmet to the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Ahead of meeting King Charles, he noted: “In your country your King is an airforce pilot, in my country pilots are kings.”

But Mr Sunak had been reluctant to provide the fighter jets with questions over whether Britain has the military kit to help.

However, Boris Johnson embarrassed his successor by saying “there is no reason” why fighter jets could not be provided as Ukraine continues its struggle against Putin’s brutal regime.

Zelensky then repeated his demands on the second leg of his European tour in Brussels where he met leaders of the 27 EU governments.

The splits in the EU have already played out with the decision to send tanks to Ukraine last month with Germany, where this weekend’s summit is due to be held, initially refusing to provide its Leopard tanks.

Hungary is one of the states to refuse military aid while other countries have feared that providing weapons to Ukraine could lead to Russia opening a new front with the EU – or even resorting to nuclear weapons.

However, Poland has led the way in the EU by providing military help and has already offered to provide its Mig jets to Zelensky’s forces if the USA could replace them with alternatives.

But Joe Biden’s administration has been reluctant to support giving Ukraine weapons which would allow it to counter attack Russia.

A Downing street spokeswoman said: “The Foreign and Defence Secretaries will also attend and will participate in a number of meetings with their counterparts.

The conference could also see dicussion on further integration of European forces to help deal with the danger posed by Russia.

A recent covert meeting hosted by Michael Gove is understood to have discussed details of how the UK could integrate with EU military more leading to some Brexiteers raising concerns that it is on the path to an EU army.

It is also expected that the continued problems posed by China to Taiwan and western security will also be discussed with former Prime Minister Liz Truss also set to make a major speech on the issue this weekend.


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