UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday pledged to build an “international coalition” to provide fighter jet support for Ukraine.
“The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Rutte agreed they would work to build (an) international coalition to provide Ukraine with combat air capabilities, supporting with everything from training to procuring F16 jets,” a spokesman for Sunak’s Downing Street office said in a statement following a meeting at the Council of Europe Summit in Iceland.
After visiting Sunak at his Chequers country estate outside London on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was “very positive” about creating a “jets coalition” in his country’s war with Russia.
Western nations have balked so far at providing advanced jets to help Ukraine take command of the skies against Russia.
Sunak said on Monday however the UK was preparing to open a flight school to train its pilots.
French President Emmanuel Macron at the same time offered to train Ukrainian fighter pilots but ruled out sending warplanes to Kyiv.
Reacting to the pledge in his nightly address, Zelensky called it “a good start to the coalition,” adding: “Thank you all.”
Sunak’s spokesman said the prime minister had also “reiterated his belief that Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO and the leaders agreed on the importance of allies providing long-term security assistance to Ukraine to guarantee they can deter against future attacks.”