European Parliament President Demands West Send Warplanes to Ukraine, Pushes for EU Membership

Krystian Dobuszynski/NurPhoto via Getty Images

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola called for EU governments to send fighter jets to Ukraine as she made a surprise visit to the country on Saturday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Adding her voice to those calling for an escalation in the war with Russia, the European Parliament’s first female president, Maltese politician Roberta Metsola, said that Ukraine should be supplied with warplanes from European Union member-states, just weeks after the first Western tanks rolled into the country.

“Member States should seriously consider sending warplanes to Ukraine,” Metsola said at a briefing in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, adding that she will continue to advocate for more military equipment to be sent to the war zone, German newspaper Die Welt reported.

The main point of her trip, however, was to advance the prospect of Ukraine joining the European Union, with Metsola saying that she hoped accession negotiations could begin as early as this year. President Zelensky, for his part, said that his government would do everything to try to meet the standards of admission into the bloc so negotiations could begin as soon as possible.

Finally, the European Parliament president’s agenda also included participating in the ‘United for Justice’ conference, which seeks to hold Russian figures to account after the war is concluded.

Speaking at the conference, Metsola said that without accountability and justice there could be no peace, and that the policy of appeasement has never worked — although the bloc does not take an especially robust stance against the likes of Turkey, which has been illegally occupying a large portion of EU member-state Cyprus for decades, and it is still an official candidate country for EU membership and has received EU funding and integration with the EU customs union, so her position is not exactly consistent.

Metsola was not the only major European politician to call for fighter jets to be sent to Ukraine, with the Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš, also getting behind the escalatory tactic.

“I don’t see why the West shouldn’t deliver fighter jets. If the Ukrainians need fighter planes, they should get them,” Karins said, going on to predict that the “delivery of combat aircraft is only a matter of time.”

The Latvian leader went on to say that European nations, particularly Germany, should ramp up production of ammunition to be sent to the front line.

“Above all ammunition is now in question. Germany’s industry has the best conditions to strengthen Europe’s defence,” Kariņš said. “Russia produces 24 hours in a row, they have switched to war economy. We are still producing in peace mode.”

“[W]e all want peace. But the only way to peace is through the victory of Ukraine. And for that she needs our weapons.”

So far, major military EU powers such as France and Germany have been hesitant to commit to sending in warplanes, despite both agreeing to ship in main battle tanks to the conflict zone.

The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has actively been campaigning for EU jets to be sent.

While the British government has claimed that it is impractical to provide its high-tech Typhoon fighter gets to Ukraine, given the time needed to train Ukrainian pilots and engineers on how to operate and maintain the planes, the Ministry of Defence has offered to replenish the supplies of any country willing to send Soviet-era or Russian fighter jets to the country.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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