Zelensky visits London, lobbies for British fighter jets
On an official visit to Great Britain, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during a speech in parliament, asked London for combat aircraft for the Ukrainian armed forces. He also met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles III at Buckingham Palace. Later on Wednesday, Zelensky travels to Paris, where he meets with President Emmanuel Macron.
In parliament, Zelensky was greeted with a long ovation and invited to the stage with the words “Glory to Ukraine!”, which the leader of parliament said in Ukrainian.
In his speech, Zelensky compared Ukraine’s and Great Britain’s joint struggle against Russia with the struggle with fascist invaders during World War II, saying that now “a new evil is rearing its head”.
“Britain is marching with us towards the most important victory of our lifetime. It will be a victory over the very idea of war. Once we have won together, any aggressor, no matter how big or small, will know what awaits him if he attacks the international order,” Zelensky said.
Last week, it was Russian President Vladimir Putin who made reference to the fight against Nazism in World War II, criticizing the Western supply of tanks to Ukraine. Taking part in celebrations for the 80th anniversary of victory in the Battle of Stalingrad on Thursday (2), Putin declared that Russia is again being threatened by German tanks.
Volodymyr Zelensky also thanked the UK for military assistance in the form of tanks and other weapons, but noted that Ukraine now needs fighter jets to protect its skies from Russian missiles.
“We have freedom, give us wings to protect it!” Zelensky said, proposing a new slogan for the two countries’ joint struggle against Moscow: “Wings for freedom.”
In addition to the speech in parliament, Zelensky and Sunak visited the military base at Lulworth Camp, in the English county of Dorset, where Ukrainian servicemen carry out training for war, in particular, learning to operate British Challenger-2 tanks.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho