Volodymyr Zelenskyy talks weapons supply with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron

Trip is Cameron's first international visit since his surprise appointment

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Britain will maintain support for Ukraine “for however long it takes”, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in Ukraine as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looks for developments on the supply of weapons into his country.

Mr Cameron travelled to Odesa on the second day of his visit to the country, the British Foreign Office said on Thursday.

He made Ukraine his first international visit, in the same week that he was brought back to the corridors of British power, as fighting rages in Gaza.

President Zelenskyy said he was grateful for the visit as Ukraine presses for weapons with much of the world’s attention diverted to Gaza. He said he has been watching closely for any sign that western military support is flagging.

“The world is not so focused on the Russia situation in Ukraine, and this dividing of the focus really does not help,” he said.

Mr Zelenskyy told the former UK prime minister that it is “a pity” that some attention has been distracted from Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

Mr Cameron said: “We will continue to give you the moral support, the diplomatic support, the economic support, but above all the military support that you need – not just this year and next year, but for however long it takes.

“I had some disagreements with my friend Boris Johnson, we've known each other for 40 years, and his support for you was the finest thing that he and his governments did.”

Mr Cameron was updated on Ukraine's counter-offensive against Russia and held talks on Kyiv's aspirations to join Nato.

Mr Zelenskyy said: “We had a good meeting focused on weapons for the frontline, strengthening air defence, and protecting our people and critical infrastructure. I am grateful to the UK for its support.”

Mr Cameron was prime minister between 2010 and 2016. He was brought back into the Cabinet on Monday.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he and Mr Cameron held talks at his ministry.

“The UK remains steadfast in providing Ukraine with weapons, increasing their co-production, and ridding the Black Sea of Russian threats,” he posted on X.

Ukraine is trying to build up a Black Sea shipping corridor to revive its seaborne exports, defying threats after Moscow left a UN-brokered deal in July that had allowed some food exports to be transported.

Mr Cameron also became the first British minister to visit the Black Sea port of Odesa since Russia's invasion.

"Russia thinks it can wait this war out, and that the West will eventually turn its attention elsewhere. This could not be further from the truth," he said.

"I made clear that the UK and our partners will support Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes for them to achieve victory. As winter approaches, we continue to stand with the Ukrainian people as they resist Putin's illegal invasion.

"In the last three months, they have pushed Russia back in the Black Sea and are opening vital sea trade routes for the Ukrainian economy and global food supplies."

He announced financial support for people affected by the war in Ukraine – £10 million ($12.45 million) to Ukraine's Red Cross Society, £7 million to a consortium led by Nonviolent Peaceforce and £1.4 million to Mercy Corps.

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Updated: November 16, 2023, 1:56 PM