Rishi Sunak Slaps Down Boris Johnson Over Call For UK To Send Tanks To Ukraine

"That's what we are doing," the PM's spokesman said.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak in happier times.
Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak in happier times.
UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via PA Media

Rishi Sunak has slapped down Boris Johnson after he called on the UK to send tanks to Ukraine.

The former prime minister said there was no point having them “patrolling the beautiful villages of Wiltshire” when they could be helping to defeat Russia.

His comments came despite the fact that Sunak has already pledged that the UK will be sending some of its Challenger tanks to the battle zone later this year.

Speaking in Washington, Johnson said: “What is the point of having Challenger tanks patrolling the beautiful villages of Wiltshire, which is a very safe area I can tell you, when the Ukrainians could be using them now to bring this war to an end?”

Asked whether the government would send tanks to Ukraine, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “Yes. That is what we are doing.”

The spokesman also ramped up the war of words between Sunak and Johnson over Ukraine’s plea for western countries to also send fighter jets to the country.

Downing Street has insisted that it would not be “practical” for the UK to send jets to Ukraine because it would take so long to train their pilots to fly them.

Hitting back last night, Johnson said: “I hear that an objection to their having sophisticated Western planes, that they won’t know how to use them, I have to say I take that argument with a pinch of salt.”

But the prime minister’s official spokesman doubled down this morning by insisting it takes five years to train up pilots to fly the UK’s fighter jets.

He added: “Clearly, we will keep listening to our Ukrainian allies about what they need and what can help them right now to win this war.

“We are talking to the Ukrainians, we are talking to our allies about the most practical way to support them in the short-term.

“We’ve just signed off the supply of Challenger 2 tanks. In terms of further equipment, we will talk to Ukraine and our allies before deciding the right approach.”


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