SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 14 June 2024, Friday |

UK’s Cameron meets Zelenskiy, visits Odesa on first trip abroad as foreign minister

David Cameron, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, visited Odesa, a southern port city that is frequently targeted by Russian airstrikes, and met with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, during his first overseas trip in his new position.

Former British prime minister David Cameron, who was named foreign minister on Monday, emphasized London’s ongoing support for Ukraine, which is currently fighting Russia for the 21st month with no sign of an end in sight.

“What I want to say by being here is that we will continue to give you the moral support, the diplomatic support… but above all the military support that you need not just this year and next year, but however long it takes,” Cameron said in a video posted by Zelenskiy’s office on Thursday.

Zelenskiy thanked Cameron for his visit, which comes amid a conflict in the Middle East that the Ukrainian leader said had drawn global attention away from his country.

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

The show of support comes as Ukraine is watching closely for any sign that vital Western military and financial assistance for Kyiv is flagging after its much-vaunted counteroffensive against Russian forces failed to yield a major breakthrough.

Cameron also held talks with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba who said on social media platform X that Britain “remains steadfast” in backing Ukraine’s efforts to counter Russian threats, including in the Black Sea.

SHIPPING CORRIDOR

Ukraine has sought to carve out a shipping corridor for its seaborne exports after Russia in July withdrew from a U.N.-brokered deal that had allowed some food exports to flow despite the war.

On Thursday, the second day of his visit to Ukraine, Cameron travelled to Odesa, the country’s major Black Sea port.

“In the last three months, they (Ukraine’s forces) have pushed Russia back in the Black Sea and are opening vital sea trade routes for the Ukrainian economy and global food supplies,” Cameron said.

Insurance broker Marsh, Lloyd’s of London insurers and Ukrainian state banks launched a facility to cut the cost of claims for damage to ships and crew transporting grain through the Black Sea corridor.

“This step will be of great importance for Ukraine’s export profits and economic recovery,” Cameron was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

Since the corridor’s launch in August, Ukraine was able to export 4 million metric tonnes of cargo, Zelenskiy has said previously.

Cameron also announced financial support to communities directly affected by Russia’s invasion and volunteer organisations working in Ukraine.

Britain has been a close ally of Ukraine throughout the full-scale war launched by Russia in February 2022.

    Source:
  • Reuters