‘Britain must provide war planes for Ukraine’ says Truss

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Russian troops with weapons captured from Ukrainian armed forces which include a number of anti-tank missile launchers from the UK

BRITAIN and other Western powers should provide warplanes to the Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said last night at the Mansion House banquet, as she demanded increased defence spending.

She insisted that the West ‘must be prepared for the long haul and double down on our support’ for the Ukraine.

Since Russia’s invasion, the Ukrainian regime has repeatedly demanded its Western sponsors supply it with heavy armaments, such as aeroplanes and tanks.

NATO has previously sent only lighter weaponry amid fears of escalation.

Truss told the City audience at the Mansion House, that ‘the fate of Ukraine remains in the balance’ and that the West ‘cannot be complacent’.

‘If Putin succeeds there will be untold further misery across Europe and terrible consequences across the globe. We would never feel safe again,’ the pre-release of her speech said.

‘Heavy weapons, tanks, aeroplanes – digging deep into our inventories, ramping up production. We need to do all of this.’

Truss reiterated her call for a boost in UK defence spending.

But Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, said the speech ‘appears to be an admission of failure after more than a decade of decline’ in the government’s commitment to defence and security.

Asked three times if he backed his colleague’s call to send planes, former foreign secretary, now deputy PM, Dominic Raab would not answer.

But he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘We need to listen very carefully to what the Ukrainians need.’

The speech comes just days after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed his country had sent tanks to Ukraine.

Germany has also pledged to send about 50 anti-aircraft tanks.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s call for Ukraine to be given warplanes follows remarks by other government officials that the Ukraine should have planes to attack Russian supply lines inside Russia itself.

As well as her demand for more defence spending at home, Truss argued that NATO’s target of 2% of GDP – which the UK met last year – should be ‘a floor, not a ceiling’.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented that, by arming Ukraine, NATO had already effectively ‘entered into a war with Russia through proxies’.

• Yesterday the Russian government imposed sanctions on 287 MPs in retaliation for hostile UK measures.