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UK not to send fighter jets to Ukraine, pushes for more sanctions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to address a Nato meeting later in the day



File photo
File photo

By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Fri 25 Feb 2022, 2:22 PM

The Boris Johnson government on Friday refused demands in some quarters that Britain should support a no-fly zone above Ukraine, since Ukraine is not a member of Nato and sending fighter jets would effectively mean declaring war on Russia.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to address a Nato meeting later in the day, besides pushing for removing Russia from the Swift international payment system, which would need the approval of other countries.

Johnson spoke to President Zelenskyy in the morning following reports of Russian presence in the capital, Kyiv.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace told BBC: “To do a no-fly zone, I would have to put British fighter jets directly against Russian fighter jets. Nato would have to effectively declare war on Russia. Because that's what you would do".

"Despite Britain's sponsorship and support for Ukraine going back to 2008, trying to help Ukraine into Nato, other nations didn't want them to come in…I will not trigger a European war. But what I will do is help Ukraine fight in every street with every piece of equipment we can get to them," he added.

According to Wallace, Russia will not stop after Ukraine: “(President) Putin is not rational. He doesn't believe the Baltic states are really countries. We all have to stand up to him."

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “President Zelenskyy updated the Prime Minister on the most recent Russian military advances, including missile and artillery strikes on Ukrainian cities and the terrible developments in Kyiv in the early hours of this morning”.

“The Prime Minister assured President Zelenskyy that the world is united in its horror at what Putin is doing. He paid tribute to the bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people in standing up to Russia’s campaign of violence, and expressed his deep condolences for those who have been killed”.

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“The Prime Minister committed to provide further UK support to Ukraine in the coming days as the people of Ukraine and the world continue to demonstrate that Putin cannot act with impunity”, the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, foreign secretary Liz Truss recalled a recent meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in a strongly-worded opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph: “Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine exposes Vladimir Putin’s regime for what it is: mendacious, bellicose and calculating. His Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, told me directly that Russia would not invade. Last week, they claimed to be pulling back their forces”.

“They have lied to the world and their own people again and again. This is not just an assault on the innocent people of Ukraine, their sovereignty and their future. It is also an attack on the security and freedom of Europe”, she added.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Johnson government has slapped a series of economic sanctions and trade restrictions on Russian entities and individuals, besides setting up a special cell in the National Crime Agency to review the presence of Russian funds in Britain.

Truss wrote: “We know Russia is willing to build an invasion on lies, so it could not be more important to stay vigilant. We have set up a new government Information Cell dedicated to rebutting the Kremlin’s fake narratives designed to justify the unjustifiable”.


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