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News analysis-Zelensky’s surprise visit to Britain and France: provide Ukraine with fighter jets and provide wings for freedom

At 10 Downing Street, Zelensky thanked the UK for being on the front line in support of Ukrainian resistance at the outset of Russia’s war of aggression. He told lawmakers in Britain’s parliament that Ukraine needed decisive military assistance in order to win within the year. He also said: “I ask you, and I send a request to the world, to provide Ukraine with fighter jets and freedom with wings.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Zelensky held a press conference and said that in terms of arming Ukraine, the United Kingdom has all options open to it, including the fighter jets requested by President Zelensky. The British side announced that it will train Ukrainian Air Force pilots in accordance with NATO standards. The UK has thus become the first country among Ukraine’s allies to pave the way for the delivery, although the prospect of delivery remains remote. Zelensky said he would continue discussions with EU leaders on the topic, including the delivery of long-range missiles, in upcoming visits.

Zelensky rarely goes abroad, and his itinerary is confidential and tight. After finishing his surprise visit to the UK, he flew to Paris at 9:30 local time that night, before having dinner with French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz at the Elysee Palace. , the three leaders jointly held a press conference. Host Macron told Zelenskiy that he was “determined to accompany” Ukraine “to victory”, that France would work to deliver more weapons to Ukraine, and that Ukraine could count on French and European partners. German Chancellor Scholz told Zelensky: “As long as necessary, the allies will support Ukraine militarily.” Zelensky personally called for the delivery of heavy weapons and aircraft “as soon as possible”. “The sooner Ukraine gets long-range heavy weapons, the sooner our pilots get fighter planes, the sooner Russian aggression ends and we can restore peace in Europe,” he said at the Elysee Palace.

Agence France-Presse quoted comments saying that Zelensky’s lightning visit to the Elysee Palace on Wednesday night was arranged at the last minute, which was an important sign of approval for Macron. “Le Figaro” conducted an exclusive interview with Zelensky in Kyiv before his visit. In the interview, Zelensky clearly reminded the allies that if Putin wins the war, Putin will fight elsewhere.

French President Macron’s past remarks about “Russia and Ukraine are brothers”, “don’t humiliate Russia”, and attempts to stop the war through dialogue with Putin have aroused criticism from Ukraine and eastern European countries. Macron later changed significantly, hoping for “Ukraine victory”, and ordered the delivery of a batch of important combat vehicles and ground-to-air defense systems to Ukraine, and took the lead in announcing the provision of light tanks to Ukraine. Asked by Le Figaro how Zelensky now evaluates Macron, he said: “I think President Macron has changed, and he has really changed.” The gate of the tank, he supports Ukraine’s application to join the European Union, which is a signal of real support for Ukraine!” “Today, there is a real trust between us.”

France announced the delivery of light tanks to Ukraine at the beginning of January, and other Western allies immediately announced the delivery of tanks to Ukraine. Germany finally agreed to approve the delivery of German-made Leopard II heavy tanks to Ukraine. In early February, the Paris authorities also announced that 12 more Caesar cannons had been delivered to Ukraine on the basis of the 18 high-mobility Caesar cannons that the Ukrainian army particularly appreciates.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be one year away. A reporter from Le Figaro asked Zelensky if he doubted that his country and himself would survive the Russian attack on February 24 last year when the Russian army invaded it. Zelensky replied, “On February 24th, we didn’t really think about how to survive…. We didn’t have time to think about it…. It’s not because we think we are heroes. But Because, as president, I have a responsibility to the country, a special responsibility. In those moments, you quickly understand that you must act as a leader, according to the constitution of the country and your own personality. You must Be responsible and protect the country as much as possible.”

Zelensky said that it is impossible for Ukraine today to return to the old path of Russia-Ukraine negotiations at the beginning of the war. He said that the situation is irreversible, and Putin’s nature cannot be changed. Zelensky thinks Putin and Hitler are the same creature. They will never stop fighting. If Ukraine falls, he will continue to attack because his power is tied to invading the country.

Zelensky reminded Europe with the painful experience of World War II: “Hitler is not alone. There have been other Hitlers in other countries and at other times. You can’t stop these dragons who need to eat. You can give them a country or divide a piece Homeland, satisfies their appetite, but they want more. Radical elements in Russia will demand that Putin continue. This type of dragon cannot be stopped by borders or seas.”

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