International News

Cameron Visits Ukraine But Concerns Are Increasing About US Future Aid

Leacsaidh Marlow

Following David Cameron’s return to the UK government during Sunak’s reshuffle of the cabinet, the new foreign secretary made his first overseas trip to Ukraine on Thursday 16th November. 

Cameron’s predecessor, James Cleverly, was intended to be the one to visit Ukraine prior to the reshuffle, but instead Cameron became the first UK minister to visit Kyiv since the beginning of Ukraine’s war with Russia. 

Given the current global climate, there has been reference to Cameron’s first international visit as being a ‘toss-up’ between Ukraine and Israel, with Cameron stating that he “wanted this to be [his] first visit” due to his admiration of the Ukrainian peoples’ “strength and determination”.

A return to active support of Ukraine

As a result of escalating conflict in the Middle East, there is an air of worry that the struggles being faced by those in Ukraine are currently being overlooked or ignored; “dividing the focus really does not help”; but Cameron’s visit has facilitated a return to active support of Ukraine, intending to remind the public that the British government does, and will continue to, support the country. 

Despite expressing his disagreement with the UK’s former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Cameron praised his support for Ukraine’s president Zelensky; “I had some disagreements with my friend Boris Johnson, and we have known each other for forty years, and his support for you was the finest thing that he and his government did.” 

Cameron went on to pledge the UK’s full and continued support for Ukraine, saying the government would maintain “moral, diplomatic, economic and military support” and would be behind Ukraine “not just this year and next year, but however long it takes”.  

The majority of discussions between the two focused on the production of arms and the supply of weapons to Ukraine, as well as the maintenance of security in the Black Sea, in which Ukraine has “made remarkable progress…to open critical exports tor Ukraine’s economy” despite the presence of the Russian Navy. 

“We are grateful for the unwavering support of Ukraine…” [Zelensky]

Zelensky expressed his gratitude to Cameron and the British government for their continued backing of the country in the face of Russia’s “illegal invasion”, stating “We are grateful for the unwavering support of Ukraine … And we are glad that you came to Ukraine,” 

Despite the public display of continued political support for Ukraine from the UK, this is not representative of all the countries that we have seen backing Zelensky over the course of this war, with the Ukrainian president cancelling his address to the US senate on the 7th December.

While Zelensky continues to beg Western allies for their military and financial strength, the UK’s support is not matched by the US, who are beginning to ‘fatigue’. This is due to the Republicans’ increased border funding being inconducive to providing further monetary aid to Ukraine. 

Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, has warned of the US’s lack of ability to fund arms and assistance to Ukraine; in a letter to House and Senate Leaders she claims “we are out of money – and nearly out of time”.

Other Western countries are beginning to wane in their […] willingness

Zelensky’s cancelling of the virtual meeting, in which he was set to discuss the appeal for further aid from the US, is indicative of a lack of faith that the US government can provide any worthwhile weapons or financial support. 

Thus, despite the UK’s obvious statement of support, there is a precedent being set that other Western countries are beginning to wane in their financial ability or willingness to further the Ukrainian cause. 

Leacsaidh Marlow

Featured image courtesy of Elena Mozhvilo via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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