Former prime minister Boris Johnson is currently in the US.

He is stateside as part of a push to maintain the West’s support for Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion.

The ex-PM has been speaking at the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington DC, this afternoon.

Mr Johnson said there is “no conceivable grounds for delay” from Western countries – days after Germany was criticised by some for appearing slow to decide on providing tanks to Ukraine.

Western allies should “give the Ukrainians the support they need to finish this war”, Mr Johnson said, adding: “Let’s give them those tools now.”

He added that if Ukraine is able to take back the strip of land in southern Ukraine between Mariupol, the Donbas and Crimea, this will help to end the war. 

“If they can take back Melitopol and Berdiansk and Mariupol, get back those areas, it’s game over for Putin,” he said.

Returning to his arguments later in the discussion, he said it would be a “false economy to let Putin win”. 

This, he said, would be “burdening future generations with the massive expense of trying to protect the whole area”.

We reported earlier on comments from Mr Johnson to Fox News in the US, with the former PM calling for Western leaders to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

Downing Street has said Mr Johnson’s visit to Washington was “not on behalf of the UK government” and has distanced itself from the former leader’s comments on fighter jets.

Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said: “The prime minister welcomes all colleagues’ backing for Ukraine and is pleased the former prime minister is continuing his staunch support of the United Kingdom’s efforts to help Ukraine secure a lasting peace.”

But he said Mr Johnson is “acting in his own capacity”.

On the possibility of sending jets, the official said: “It’s currently not practical to send UK jets. 

“We will continue to work closely with the Ukrainians to understand their needs and how allies can further support them.

“Given the complexity of UK fighter jets and the length of time required to train them, we do not currently think it is practical to do so.”

Downing Street said the RAF’s Typhoons and F-35s are “extremely sophisticated” pieces of equipment.

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