Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has urged Rishi Sunak’s government and other western leaders to give his country with fighter jets to defeat invading Russia.
The war leader used his historic address to parliament to urge the UK and the West to provide combat jets, telling MPs it was time to offer “wings for freedom.”
Mr Zelensky said he wanted Britain and other allies to supply planes. “I appeal to you and the world with simple and yet most important words: combat aircraft for Ukraine – wings for freedom.”
He said: “Two years ago, I left parliament thanking you for the delicious English tea. Today I will leave parliament today thanking all of you in advance for powerful English planes.”
Mr Zelensky, set to meet King Charles III at Buckingham Palace later, added: “In Britain the King is an airforce pilot. In Ukraine, today, every airforce pilot is a king.”
He also presented Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle with a Ukrainian fighter pilot’s helmet close to the end of his 20-minute speech.
Mr Sunak has come under pressure – from predecessor Boris Johnson and others – over his decision not to send British fighter jets to its ally.
No 10 said last week that it was “not practical” to send British aircraft to the warzone. But Sunak announced on Wednesday that he was expanding British training to Ukrainian figher pilots.
Mr Sunak said on Wednesday that he was “proud” to announce an expansion in training from soldiers to both jet pilots and marines to help Ukraine able “defend its interests well into the future”.