Cameron says Ukraine aid is in US interest after meeting Trump

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UK foreign secretary Lord David Cameron described aid for Ukraine as “profoundly” in America’s interest after meeting Donald Trump in a personal bid to win over sceptical US Republicans who are holding up billions of dollars in crucial assistance for Kyiv.

At a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, hours after a dinner with Trump, Cameron said he had “no intention to lecture” American politicians, but he believed that releasing such funding was in the interest of the country’s security.

The UK’s top diplomat was due to meet Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate minority leader. But no meeting was scheduled with Mike Johnson, the Republican House Speaker who has refused to call a vote on new security funds, including $60bn in aid for Ukraine, after pressure from Trump and lawmakers on the hard-right flank of his party.

“I’m here to offer my opinion, to meet with anyone who wants to talk to me about it,” Cameron said, describing the meeting with Trump as in line with precedent.

He added: “It’s so important that the outcome of all this is a secure and strong Nato, with full US and Atlantic support, rather than a setback for the western alliance, a victory for [Vladimir] Putin, and the sense that we don’t stand by our allies and our friends at that time of need.”

The Trump campaign’s account of the meeting, however, indicated that Cameron did not fully win over the former president. A campaign spokesman said Trump and Cameron had discussed upcoming elections in the US and UK, “the need for Nato countries to meet their defence spending requirements and ending the killing in Ukraine”.

The Trump camp’s description of the Ukraine discussion raised eyebrows among some diplomats who are wary of what a Trump presidency could mean for the west’s support for Kyiv.

The Republican block on new funding from the US comes amid fears among Kyiv’s allies that Russia’s invading forces will capitalise on Ukraine’s diminishing firepower and slower supplies of western ammunition to capture more territory.

Johnson has been searching for a politically viable path to move the funds through Congress without inflaming hardline Trump allies and other Republicans who have taken a more isolationist stance on American foreign policy.

Cameron had indicated that he would lobby Johnson on the Ukraine funds — but securing Trump’s support first will be crucial.

Nato allies have warned Johnson and the Republican party that failing to help Kyiv could be devastating for Ukraine, echoing messages from Democratic President Joe Biden, as well as Ukraine’s supporters from both parties in Congress.

Cameron resigned as UK prime minister in 2016, shortly after the UK voted to leave the EU — a vote praised by Trump, who won election as US president later that year.

Cameron’s meeting with Trump also comes as embassies in Washington begin devoting more diplomatic energy on Trump’s inner circle. Trump holds a narrow polling lead over Biden in this year’s presidential race.

With Ukraine funding in doubt and concerns of a lurch to more isolationism by the US if Trump wins November’s election, western allies have sought ways to “Trump-proof” some of the security architecture that has sprung while Biden has been in office.

Nato has begun looking at plans for a $100bn fund that would give the alliance control of military aid to Kyiv rather than Washington, which oversees the Ramstein group to co-ordinate weapons transfers.

In February, Trump told a campaign rally audience that Russia could do “whatever the hell they want” to Nato allies that failed to meet their defence spending targets — comments that drew a sharp rebuke from Nato members.

Via

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