LONDON: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky called on allies Wednesday to provide his country with air power to combat the Russian invasion, in an historic address to the British parliament.
“I appeal to you and the world... for combat aircrafts for Ukraine, wings for freedom,“ he told lawmakers of the lower and upper houses of the British parliament.
Zelensky, who arrived in the UK earlier Wednesday, said in parliament’s ancient Westminster Hall: “We know freedom will win, we know Russia will lose.
“The United Kingdom is marching with us towards the most... important victory of our lifetime. It will be a victory over the very idea of the war.”
The UK government said on Wednesday it would offer advanced training for Ukrainian fighter jet pilots and marines, as Western allies debate stepping up military aid for Kyiv against a feared new Russian offensive in the east.
Britain has stopped short, however, of offering Kyiv its Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets saying it would require months if not years of training.
The United States has so far also rejected any deliveries of F-16 warplanes to Ukraine, but other partners, including Poland, have shown themselves more open to the idea.
Concluding his speech, Zelensky told the lawmakers: “Thank you for your attention. Thank you for your support.
“...leaving a British parliament two years ago I thanked you for delicious English tea. And I will be leaving the parliament today thanking all of you in advance for powerful English planes,“ he added. - AFP