UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has stated that the UK is willing to replenish stocks of any country willing to send Russian or Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine, as the war in Ukraine looks set to escalate.
Wallace ruled out sending British Typhoon fighter jets into the conflict zone, but said that the UK would be willing to “backfill” any shipments of older Russian or Soviet-era jets to Ukraine from Eastern European nations.
Poland has already offered to supply Ukraine with Mig 29s. In an interview, Wallace explained that the UK can provide security for these shipments, or even allow them to have their own capability, as they are already configured to fight in a NATO way, which Ukraine is not.
Wallace also stated that the UK will not be sending its own Typhoon fighter jets to Ukraine in the short term as Ukrainian soldiers and engineers are not trained to operate and maintain such advanced systems.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has, however, stated that the UK plans on being the first NATO country to supply Kyiv with “longer-range weapons”, with the 150-mile range Harpoon high-explosive anti-ship missile and the 350-mile range deep penetration Storm Shadow cruise missile being considered.
It has been suggested that such long-range missiles could be used by the Ukrainians to wage attacks on the Russian-controlled Crimean Peninsula.
On Friday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that the first round of Western tanks arrived in Ukraine, in the form of four Leopard battle tanks.
Sweden has also announced that it plans on sending around ten Leopard 2 tanks as well as anti-air defence systems to the country.
Defence analysts have suggested that the Storm Shadow cruise missiles, in particular, could be used to “disrupt the Russian Navy”.