Politics Cameron warns US over blocked Ukraine aid

Cameron warns US over blocked Ukraine aid

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Lord Cameron will warn that the US is risking the West’s security by holding up a new package of aid for Ukraine when he visits Washington DC next week.

During a face-to-face meeting, the Foreign Secretary will urge Mike Johnson, the House of Representatives speaker, to stop his Republican colleagues from continuing to block the support.

Earlier this year, the UK announced another £2.5 billion in aid to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion, while the European Union has pledged a further €50 billion (£43 billion).

But Joe Biden’s $95 billion (£75 billion) Bill, which includes security assistance to Ukraine, is being blocked by the US president’s Republican opponents in the House of Representatives, one half of the US Congress.

Lord Cameron and Stéphane Séjourné, his French counterpart, issued a rallying cry to boost support for Ukraine in a Telegraph article marking Monday’s 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale alliance between the nations.

They wrote: “We are both absolutely clear – Ukraine must win this war. If Ukraine loses, we all lose. The costs of failing to support Ukraine now will be far greater than the costs of repelling Putin. But, as discussed during the Paris Conference in February, we must do even more to ensure we defeat Russia. The world is watching – and will judge us if we fail.”

They said “it is not for France and Britain alone to solve these challenges” and “we can rally others to join us in overcoming them”.

Foreign Office sources said that, during his visit to the US, Lord Cameron will echo a message posted on social media last week in which he said: “Britain’s put forward its money for Ukraine this year. So’s the European Union. America needs to do it. That is blocked in Congress.

“Speaker Johnson can make it happen in Congress. I’m going to go and see him next week and say we need that money, Ukraine needs that money. It is American security, it’s European security, it’s Britain’s security that is on the line in Ukraine, and they need our help.”

On Sunday, Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, warned that his nation would lose unless Congress passed the military assistance package.

Mr Zelensky said: “It is necessary to specifically tell Congress that if Congress does not help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war. If Ukraine loses the war, other states will be attacked.”

Kyiv’s forces have been on the back foot since a large-scale offensive last year failed to achieve a major breakthrough.

On his previous Washington trip, Lord Cameron likened those blocking aid to the appeasers of Hitler in the 1930s – leading Marjorie Taylor Greene, a pro-Donald Trump Congress member, to tell him to “kiss my a–”.

The message could trigger fresh tensions with the Republican Party. Mr Trump, a sceptic on aid for Ukraine, is the party’s presidential nominee and could be back in the White House by next January.

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During his trip, Lord Cameron will meet Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, with the pair also expected to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Both the UK and US governments have not ruled out a suspension of arms exports to Israel as they attempt to press for more humanitarian aid trucks to be let into Gaza.

Last week, Israel confirmed that it was behind an “unintentional” missile strike on Gaza in which seven aid workers, including three Britons, were killed.

Lord Cameron wrote in The Sunday Times that the UK’s support for Israel was not “unconditional” and called for more aid to be let into the territory.

However, Oliver Dowden, the Deputy Prime Minister, said people were holding Israel to higher standards than other countries, telling Sky News: “Of course it’s right that we try to hold Israel to high standards, but I just think there’s a bit of relish from some people about the way in which they are pushing this case against Israel.”

Tory MPs have noted that Lord Cameron has at times appeared more willing to publicly press Israel for changes to its actions in Gaza than Rishi Sunak and other Cabinet ministers.

Foreign Office and Downing Street sources have dismissed any suggestion of splits between the Foreign Secretary and Number 10 on the issue of an arms export suspension.

The Government is legally obliged to stop selling arms to a country that is not displaying a commitment to international humanitarian law. A Foreign Office assessment on whether that threshold has been met by Israel’s actions late last year and earlier this year is with Lord Cameron, but he has not yet decided whether a suspension is needed.

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On Sunday, Israel announced that it had withdrawn most of its ground troops from the south of the Gaza Strip, leaving only one brigade in the enclave.

Yoav Gallant, the Israeli defence minister, said the troops were pulled out to prepare for forthcoming operations, including in the southern city of Rafah.

He added: “The forces are exiting and preparing for their next missions. We saw examples of such missions in the Shifa operation, and also of their coming mission in the Rafah area.”

On Monday, France will become the first non-Commonwealth country to take part in the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Members of the Gendarmerie’s Garde Republicaine will join 40 soldiers from the Scots Guards for a parade celebrating the anniversary of the Entente Cordiale.

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