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UK doesn't support idea of supplying warplanes to Ukraine

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo of a British Typhoon warplane

The United Kingdom says it does not consider it to be practical to supply warplanes to Ukraine, despite Kiev's insistence that it needs the aircraft to sustain an ongoing military conflict with Russia.

"The UK's ... fighter jets are extremely sophisticated and take months to learn how to fly. Given that, we believe it is not practical to send those jets into Ukraine," a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Tuesday.

The official, however, said, "We will continue to discuss with our allies about what we think what is the right approach."

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has been pressing Kiev's allies in the Western military alliance of NATO for a sustainable and increasingly improving flow of arms in the face of a nearly-one-year-long military operation that has been launched by neighboring Russia against the ex-Soviet Republic.

He recently put up a demand for long-range missiles and fighter aircraft, a plea that has also been rejected by the United States and Germany, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz refusing to enter Berlin "into a constant bidding war when it comes to weapons systems."

Other allies have been blowing hot and cold on the idea of dispatching the aircraft.

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron did not rule out sending warplanes to Ukraine.

"Nothing is excluded in principle," Macron said after talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at The Hague.

The French head of state, however, conditioned transfer of the warplanes on a set of "criteria," including a so-called guarantee by Kiev that any arms would "not be escalatory" and that they would "not be likely to hit Russian soil."

Dutch politicians have also floated the idea of sending F-16 aircraft to Ukraine, but Rutte sounded a note of caution. "There is no taboo but it would be a big step," said the Dutch official, speaking alongside Macron.

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