UK Foreign Minister Cameron meets with former US President Trump to appeal for aid to Ukraine

UK Foreign Minister Cameron meets with former US President Trump to appeal for aid to Ukraine
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron travelled to the US to meet with former president Donald Trump to appeal to the US to vote through a new aid package for Ukraine. He also met with his counterpart US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and said supporting Ukraine is "in the US' interests." / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews April 10, 2024

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron met with former US President Donald Trump on April 9 and told him that US continued support of Ukraine was “in US interests,” Ukrayinska Pravda reports.

Cameron reiterated the urgency for US lawmakers to vote on a mooted $61bn aid package that has been snarled up in Congress since it was proposed by US President Joe Biden in November.

The US ran out of money for Ukraine in January and since then the supply of arms and ammunition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has dried up, putting the latter at a significant disadvantage on the battlefield.

The increasingly shortages became apparent following the fall of Avdiivka on February 17, after which Russian forces regained the initiative in the fighting and continued to make territorial gains, albeit modest ones. The problems became more acute when Russia launched a massive barrage of missile strikes in January that grew in ferocity in March to threaten Ukraine’s power infrastructure.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been taking advantage of Ukraine’s dwindling supplies of air defence ammunition by bombarding Ukrainian cities and power infrastructure to deplete Ukraine’s supply of ammunition. By the end of March Moscow has succeeded in opening the skies again for Russian missiles, which have damaged up to half of Ukraine’s power installations.

As Western allies become increasingly desperate, Lord Cameron travelled to the US to appeal to Trump, who is reportedly coordinating the delay on the vote for more US aid, hoping to gain political advantage against his rival Biden in the upcoming US presidential election in November. Cameron appealed to Trump at a press briefing alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Cameron stressed the paramount importance of the supplemental aid package under Congressional consideration for Ukraine's immediate needs.

"Nothing is more important [for Ukraine] than the supplemental [aid] that the Congress is looking at [at] the moment," Cameron said at the press briefing.

The responsibility of supporting Ukraine both financially and militarily has fallen increasingly on Europe, which has attempted to fill the breach left by the end of US support. The EU voted through a four-year €50bn support package in December but as most of Europe’s stockpiles of missiles have been depleted it is struggling to deliver crucial artillery shells to Ukraine, among other munitions, to keep Kyiv in the game.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said this month that Ukraine no longer has the resources to amount offensives but still has enough to maintain its defence. He also said that if more aid is not forthcoming, Ukraine may have to concede more territory to Russia, which is expected to launch a counteroffensive in the spring.

Lord Cameron stressed that his plea was not of admonishment but rather a call to action among allies. "I come here with no intention to lecture anybody or tell anybody what to do or get in the way of the process of politics and other things in the US. I just come here as a great friend and believer in this country and a believer that it's profoundly in your interest and your security, and your future and the future of all your partners, to release this money and let it through,” he said.

Cameron met Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and touched upon various global issues during their meeting, Ukrayinska Pravda reported, including the volatile situations in the Middle East and Ukraine, though Cameron remained reserved on the specifics of their discussions.

Cameron's consistent advocacy for Ukraine extends beyond the US; he has previously urged European leaders to exert pressure on House Speaker Mike Johnson to expedite approval of Ukrainian aid.

The UK has been an ardent supporter of Ukraine in its fight with Russia and Cameron has become the voice of British support. He admonished Nato for not doing more to help Ukraine and highlighted the fact that several European members have not fulfilled the non-binding Nato membership pledge to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP in remarks at a Nato-members meeting in Brussels at the start of April.

"Allies need to step up and spend more on defence in the face of continued Russian aggression and a more dangerous world," Cameron will say in a speech on the occasion of 75 years of Nato history since its founding on April 4.

Cameron asked the allies to endorse British-led initiatives to procure Nato standard missiles and munitions for the Ukrainian armed forces. The UK has spent billions of dollars in its support for Ukraine since 2022 when the invasion began.

"With Ukraine closer to Nato than ever, we must sustain the critical support Ukraine needs to win the war," Cameron said.