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Cameron pleads with US politicians to back extra funding for Ukraine

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Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron has urged US politicians to release billions of dollars of extra funding to boost Ukraine’s military, warning that failing to do so would put Western security at risk.

The former prime minister insisted he did not want to “lecture” Republican politicians who have blocked the package, but warned about the consequences of failing to support Ukraine’s fight against Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

He said countries including China, Iran and North Korea would be looking intently at how much support the US was actually prepared to give to its allies.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken, right, with Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron at the State Department in Washington (Kevin Wolf/AP)
US secretary of state Antony Blinken, right, with Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron at the State Department in Washington (Kevin Wolf/AP)

Lord Cameron, who visited former president Donald Trump in Florida as part of his trip to the US in an effort to encourage support for Ukraine, said it was “right to send this very clear message to all those watching around the world, including China, that we stand by our allies, that we don’t reward aggression, that we help those who are trying to fight it off”.

A 60 billion-dollar (£47 billion) supplemental funding package for Ukraine has been stalled for months amid US political wrangles.

At a joint press conference in Washington DC with US counterpart Antony Blinken, Lord Cameron said Ukraine needed air defence systems and ammunition.

“Perhaps nothing is more important than the supplemental that Congress is looking at at the moment,” he said.

“And 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 United States.

“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 your partners, to release this money and let it through.”

Making the point that US arms firms would be supported by the funding, he said: “We know that it is right to stop Putin’s aggression. We know it’s right for our own militaries and our own production bases to ramp up production, not just for Ukraine, but for our own stocks.”

As well as his talks with presidential candidate Mr Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, Lord Cameron was expected to meet key congressmen and senators during his trip.

He said: “I always do this with great trepidation. It’s not for foreign politicians to tell legislators in another country what to do.

“It’s just that I’m so passionate about the importance of defending Ukraine against this aggression that I think it is absolutely in the interests of US security that Putin fails in his illegal invasion, I think it’s good for US jobs, that we continue to back Ukraine with the weapons that they need.

“And I think in terms of how the United States, the United Kingdom, as allies are seen around the world. There will be people in Tehran, in Pyongyang, in Beijing looking at how we stand by our allies, how we help them, how we stop this illegal and unprovoked aggression, and working out whether we are committed, whether we’re prepared to see it through.”

Mr Blinken said the request for the extra Ukraine funding was “urgent” and “we look to see that brought before the House and to get a vote as quickly as possible”.

He added: “The overwhelming majority of the resources in the supplemental budget request will actually be invested right here in the United States, in our own defence industrial base, to produce what Ukraine needs, but providing in the meantime good American jobs.”

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