Volodymyr Zelensky has used a visit to Paris to urge Europe to deliver combat aircraft and heavy arms to Ukraine as soon as possible, writes The Guardian. “The sooner Ukraine gets long-range heavy weaponry, the sooner our pilots get planes, the sooner this Russian aggression will end and we can return to peace in Europe” the Ukrainian president said. He met with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz.
Macron said Paris would “continue the efforts” to deliver arms to Kyiv, adding that France was determined to help Ukraine towards “victory, peace and Europe”. “Russia cannot and must not win”, - he said, adding that “the future of Europe” was at stake in Ukraine.
Scholz said it was clear that Moscow would not win, and assured Ukraine its future was in the EU, saying Ukraine was part of the “European family”. “Putin will not achieve his goals – not on the battlefield and not through a dictated peace”.
Zelensky also made an emotional appeal to the UK to supply Ukraine with fighter jets on a surprise visit to the UK earlier: “I appeal to you and the world with simple and yet most important words: combat aircrafts – for Ukraine! Wings – for freedom”.
The expansion of the UK’s training programme to include fighter pilots is significant as Zelensky has repeatedly called on western countries to supply planes. The UK has so far refused, arguing that the RAF’s F-35 and Typhoon jets take too long for pilots to train on. Sunak also confirmed that UK Challenger 2 tanks would be deployed in Ukraine next month.
The NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said there was no sign of Russia preparing for peace.
Zelensky was expected to travel to Brussels on Thursday, with leaders of EU countries due there for a summit.