Library image of a Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Picture: MOD).
Library image of a Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Picture: MOD).
Ukraine

West in 'fast-track' talks over possibility of sending Ukraine long-range missiles and aircraft, official says

Library image of a Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Picture: MOD).
Library image of a Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Picture: MOD).

Ukraine and its Western allies are engaged in "fast-track" talks on the possibility of equipping the invaded country with long-range missiles and military aircraft, a senior official has said.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said Ukraine's supporters in the West "understand how the war is developing" and the need to supply planes capable of providing cover for the armoured fighting vehicles that the United States and Germany pledged at the beginning of the month.

However, in remarks to online video channel Freedom, Mr Podolyak said that some of Ukraine’s Western partners maintain a "conservative" attitude to arms deliveries, "due to fear of changes in the international architecture".

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Russia and North Korea have accused the West of prolonging and taking a direct role in the war by sending Kyiv increasingly sophisticated weapons.

"We need to work with this. We must show (our partners) the real picture of this war," Mr Podolyak said, without naming specific countries.

"We must speak reasonably and tell them, for example: 'This and this will reduce fatalities, this will reduce the burden on infrastructure. This will reduce security threats to the European continent, this will keep the war localised.' And we are doing it."

On Wednesday, the US and Germany agreed to share advanced tanks with Ukraine along with the Bradley and Marder vehicles promised earlier, a decision that led to criticism not only from the Kremlin but from the prime minister of Nato and European Union member Hungary.

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The UK's latest assistance includes 14 Challenger 2 tanks, additional artillery and hundreds more missiles.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban asserted on Friday that Western countries providing weapons and money to assist Ukraine in its war with Russia have "drifted" into becoming active participants in the conflict.

Mr Orban has refused to send weapons to neighbouring Ukraine and sought to block EU funds earmarked for military aid.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry said it would summon Hungary's ambassador to complain about Mr Orban’s remarks.

A ministry spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, said Mr Orban told reporters that Ukraine was "a no-man's land" and compared it to Afghanistan.

"Such statements are completely unacceptable. Budapest continues on its course to deliberately destroy Ukrainian-Hungarian relations," Mr Nikolenko said in a Facebook post.

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