Ukraine: Britons discuss their thoughts on the UK's involvement
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Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger and Democrat Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan this week introduced a bill for the US to train Ukrainian fighter pilots and crews. They insisted that “as Air Force veterans, we know that in any conflict with an opposing military, one of the first actions our Joint Forces will take is to establish air supremacy”.
Their Bill remains to be approved or rejected.
But it has already received a warm response from some Ukrainian officials.
Former President Petro Poroshenko described the bill as a “great initiative” and argued it would, if passed, push Kyiv a step closer to gaining superiority in the sky.
He wrote in a post on Twitter: “It is a great initiative of Congressman Adam Kinzinger, my friend and friend of Ukraine, to introduce a bill to train our pilots to operate advanced US Air Force.
“We will be able to close the skies of Ukraine ourselves, if we can and have the appropriate fighters.”
The reference to “closing the skies” reflects the desire of some Ukrainian officials for the West to impose a so-called no-fly zone over the country.
Leaders, including in the UK, have so far rejected such requests, highlighting that the policy would have to be enforced (most likely by Western counties) in order to be effective and so would widen the margins of the war.
In March, SDP leader William Clouston told Express.co.uk Volodymyr Zelensky’s own please for a no-fly-zone was “understandable” but that such a move would be “foolish”.
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He said: “It would widen and escalate the war, it would probably breach NATO’s defensive mandate and, most importantly, it would increase the prospect of nuclear conflict.
“Putin’s action against Ukraine is appalling but western leaders must avoid escalation and conflagration.”
Mr Poroshenko’s latest comments appear, however, to suggest that Ukraine could, if trained (in this case by the US), “close the sky” by itself.
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He said the bill’s implementation would “help establish air superiority over the enemy and win”.
The former President added that it would “also be an important step towards the North Atlantic Alliance”.
In a letter prompting their bill, Congressman Kinzinger and Congresswoman Houlahan said: “Based on public reporting, neither the Ukrainians nor the Russians have established air superiority.
“We believe the US and our NATO allies can help Ukraine change the situation in the air domain and give Ukrainian forces a decisive advantage in the war.”
The UK also earlier this month offered to launch a new training scheme for Ukrainian soldiers which it said could turn out up to 10,000 troops ever 120 days.
Upon meeting Mr Zelensky in Kyiv for the second time since the war began, Boris Johnson stressed that the UK “will be with you until you ultimately prevail”.
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