Johnson calls for UK to send its jets and tanks to help Ukraine ‘finish the job’

Former prime minister Boris Johnson has put pressure on Rishi Sunak to send jets and tanks to Ukraine.

He said more than 100 Typhoon jets were held by the UK and “the best single use” for them would be in Ukraine.

His call came after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky used an address to Parliament to plead for combat aircraft, saying his country needed “wings for freedom”.

Mr Johnson, who struck up a close relationship with Mr Zelensky while he was in No 10, said: “It is time to give the Ukrainians the extra equipment they need to defeat Putin and to restore peace to Ukraine.

“That means longer range missiles and artillery. It means more tanks. It means planes.

“We have more than 100 Typhoon jets. We have more than 100 Challenger 2 tanks.

“The best single use for any of these items is to deploy them now for the protection of the Ukrainians – not least because that is how we guarantee our own long-term security.”

Mr Johnson acknowledged that supplying Typhoon jets to Ukraine would require the support of Germany, Italy and Spain, the other countries involved in its development, but he insisted that should not be an issue.

“Today’s investment in helping Ukraine will avert instability and chaos for years to come,” Mr Johnson said.

“By helping Ukraine to push back Putin, we can make our world safer – and above all, save an innocent country from destruction.

“In the year since Putin’s barbaric invasion, we have learnt that he fears nothing except the heroism of the Ukrainians and western willingness to give them the tools they need.

“Every time we have stepped up with more military support the Ukrainians have responded and turned the tide of war. Now is the time to give them exactly what they need to finish the job.”

The UK has so far refused to supply planes, arguing it would take years to train pilots to use the sophisticated F-35s and Typhoons in RAF service.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Individuals need to be trained on these fighter jets before they can use them. Simply providing the jets alone would not be sufficient.”

On tanks, the spokesman said: “We’re always seeking to provide everything possible and the provision of Challenger 2 tanks shouldn’t be seen in isolation, it comes on top of additional support in terms of longer-range guns, longer-range capabilities.”

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