Rishi Sunak has said the UK stands “ready to support all allies if they can provide fighter jets to Ukraine now”.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, he said the UK was already “leading” on training Ukrainian fighter jet pilots and reiterated his call for allies to “double down” in support.
Earlier, Mr Sunak said it was “entirely reasonable” for NATO to provide longer-range weapons to Ukraine so it could “have a counter-offensive that moves Russia outside of its own country”.
When asked if the UK would send weapons that could target Crimea, which was annexed by the Russians in 2014, he said NATO must help Kyiv gain a decisive advantage on the battlefield with heavy tanks, air defence, artillery and long-range weapons.
Ukraine war – latest: Putin’s imperial goals beyond Ukraine ‘clear’
“Those are all the things that will allow Ukraine to defend itself and repel Russian aggression,” Mr Sunak said.
“And, indeed, yes, to have a counter-offensive that moves Russia outside of its own country. I think that’s entirely reasonable and we should be fully behind Ukraine in that ambition, and want that ambition to succeed.”
Mr Sunak gave a speech to world leaders at the conference, telling them: “Our collective efforts are making a difference. But with every day that passes, Russian forces inflict yet more pain and suffering.”
“Now the only way to change that is for Ukraine to win,” he added.
He revealed that the UK and its allies were working to give Ukraine “advanced air defence systems” and would help it to train and build the air force it needs to defend itself.
“Together we must help Ukraine to shield its cities from Russian bombs and Iranian drones.”
“Of course, the United Kingdom stands ready to help any country provide planes that Ukraine can use today. But we must also train Ukrainian pilots to use the most advanced jets,” he said.
The prime mister also said that the whole world must hold Russia to account and that “to win the peace, we also need to rebuild the international order on which our collective security depends”.
“First, that means upholding international law,” he said. “The whole world must hold Russia to account. We must see justice through the ICC for their sickening war crimes committed, whether in Bucha, Irpen, Mariupol or beyond, and Russia must also be held to account for the terrible destruction it has inflicted.”
He added: “Second, the treaties and agreements of the post-Cold War era have failed Ukraine, so we need a new framework for its long-term security.”
Ukraine will need fighter jets to see off Russian threat, Poland’s president says
Adam Parsons: NATO’s focus is on heavy weapons and training – not sending fighter jets
Ukraine’s backers struggle to keep up with demand of munitions in race against Russia
Military analyst Sean Bell: Invasion has shattered Russia’s illusion of invincibility
A new NATO charter should be set up to help protect Ukraine from future Russian aggression, he said.
Mr Sunak concluded by saying that “what’s at stake in this war is even greater than the security and sovereignty of one nation. It’s about the security and sovereignty of every nation.
“Because Russia’s invasion, its abhorrent war crimes and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric are symptomatic of a broader threat to everything we believe in.”
Meanwhile, the American vice president Kamala Harris told the conference that America had determined Russia had committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, and said “justice must be served” to those responsible.
“Russian forces have pursued a widespread and systemic attack against a civilian population – gruesome acts of murder, torture, rape, and deportation,” Ms Harris said, also citing “execution-style killings, beatings, and electrocution”.
“Russian authorities have forcibly deported hundreds of thousands of people, from Ukraine to Russia, including children,” she added. “They have cruelly separated children from their families.”
As a former prosecutor and head of California’s Department of Justice, Ms Harris said she understood “the importance of gathering facts and holding them up against the law”.
“In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt,” she said. “These are crimes against humanity.”
Harris told the forum: “Let us all agree – on behalf of all the victims, both known and unknown, justice must be served.”
“No nation is safe in a world where one country can violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another, where crimes against humanity are committed with impunity, where a country with imperialist ambitions can go unchecked,” Harris added.