The UK could offer Typhoon aircraft to NATO countries that give Ukraine MiGs that can be deployed immediately.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed that the idea of a “swap” is on the cards on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.
Volodymyr Zelensky has been calling for fighter jets to help drive out Vladimir Putin’s forces, but there are concerns it will take years to train Ukrainian pilots and ground crews to use Britain’s Typhoons and F-35s.
Experts say they wouldn’t be the most effective jets for the battlefield, either.
In a round of interviews this morning, Ben Wallace suggested that Britain could supply fighter jets to its Eastern European allies to enable them to launch their Soviet-era planes.
There is concern that it would take years to train Ukrainian pilots and ground crews to use British Typhoons (pictured) and F-35s.
Polish Air Force MiG-29 fighters take part in NATO exercises
In a round of interviews this morning, Wallace suggested that Britain could supply fighter jets to Eastern European allies to enable them to launch their Soviet-era planes.
Mr Wallace told Times Radio: “In the time scale of this conflict right now, the ability for us to train pilots on Typhoon and then train them to fight Typhoon because fighter jets is a layered process very complicated”.
“And also about 200 people are required to look after the planes like a Formula One pit crew… The West is not sending RAF or other Air Force personnel to Ukraine.
“So the other quick way Ukraine can benefit from fighter jets is for those countries in Europe that have Soviet Russian fighter jets (MiG 29 or Su-24). If they want to donate, we can use our fighter jets to fill in and provide security for them as a result.
“They are already set up to fight NATO-style, where of course Ukraine is not.”
with the UK set to join the allies in pledging to support the war-torn country for as long as it takes.
The UK remains a prominent supporter of kyiv, with the government announcing earlier this year that Britain would be the first country to supply its armed forces with tanks.
But Zelensky’s call for fighter jets has so far been met with reluctance by Western allies.
Zelensky, whose wartime leadership made him a world figure, has embarked on a whirlwind of diplomacy in recent weeks as he toured Washington and European capitals to press allies on the need for more aid.
At a G7 meeting, Sunak is expected to urge other nations to supply Kiev with longer-range weapons, while repeating his offer of British support to countries that can provide planes.
“As one year has passed since a full-scale war broke out on our continent, I urge everyone to reflect on the courage and bravery of our Ukrainian friends who, every hour since then, have heroically fought for their country,” he said.
“I am proud that the UK has stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine during this horrible conflict. As I stand with the brave Ukrainian soldiers outside Downing Street today, my thoughts are with all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom and bring peace back to Europe.”
In London, Mr. Sunak will lead a national minute of silence to mark the anniversary.
Sunak, who will also receive members of the Ukrainian armed forces at Downing Street as well as Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko, will hang a blue and yellow wreath on the door of number 10 accompanied by his wife Akshata Murty.
G7 leaders will meet to discuss a conflict that has scarred Europe and shaken the West.
With no end in sight to the war, Sunak will urge his fellow world leaders to “move faster” to arm Ukraine’s troops as the battle against Vladimir Putin’s forces continues.
“For Ukraine to win this war, and to speed up that day, it must gain a decisive advantage on the battlefield. That’s what it will take to change Putin’s mindset. This must be our priority now. Instead of an incremental approach, we need to move faster on artillery, armor and air defense,” Mr. Sunak is expected to tell world leaders in a virtual meeting.
Ukraine has been dealing with the devastation of the Russian invasion for a year (pictured Mariupol last April)
Volodymyr Zelensky advocated for fighter jets on a tour of Europe that began in the UK earlier this month (pictured)
“The next few weeks will be difficult for Ukraine, but they will also be difficult for Russia. They are overreaching once again. So now is the time to support Ukraine’s plan to rearm, regroup and move forward.”
Crowds gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to mark the anniversary on Thursday night, where Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and other speakers praised the bravery of Ukrainian fighters.
In his interviews, Wallace said Russia has been forced to take a “meat-grinder approach” after his forces failed to make a breakthrough in Ukraine.
Wallace said that the Russian army was suffering “enormous losses” on the battlefield for very little gain in territory.
“He will effectively move to a meat grinder approach where he will continue to sacrifice his own soldiers for the vanity of the Kremlin.”
“That is why we see huge losses among the Russian army and only gains, where we see gains – in meters, not in miles.”