Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron, on his first trip abroad in his new role, met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and also travelled to the southern port city of Odesa, a regular target of Russian air strikes.
Mr. Cameron, a former British prime minister who was appointed Foreign Minister on Monday, stressed London’s continued support for Ukraine, now in its 21st month of war with Russia and with no 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,” Mr. Cameron said in a video posted by Mr. Zelensky’s office on Thursday.
Mr. Zelensky thanked Mr. Cameron for his visit, which comes amid a conflict in the Middle East 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,” Mr. Zelensky 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.
Mr. 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.
Ukraine has sought to carve out a shipping corridor for its seaborne exports after Russia in July withdrew from a UN-brokered deal that had allowed some food exports to flow despite the war.
On Thursday, the second day of his visit to Ukraine, Mr. Cameron travelled to Odesa, the country’s major Black Sea port.
“In the last three months, [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,” Mr. 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,” Mr. Cameron was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
Since the corridor’s launch in August, Ukraine was able to export four million metric tonnes of cargo, Mr. Zelensky has said previously.
Mr. Cameron also announced financial support to communities directly affected by Russia’s invasion and volunteer organizations working in Ukraine.
Britain has been a close ally of Ukraine throughout the full-scale war launched by Russia in February, 2022.
On the war front, emergency crews found the bodies of a married couple on Thursday as they cleared rubble from a Russian strike in the eastern Ukrainian town of Selydove the previous day, taking the total death toll to four, officials said.
Russia fired four S-300 missiles at the town on Wednesday, damaging six apartment buildings and 20 homes, police said.
The two people found on Thursday were a married couple who had moved from another town in the Donetsk region because of the war, the Prosecutor’s General Office said.
“A total of four people were killed and three injured,” the State Emergency Service said on the Telegram message service.
Images from the site showed about half of an apartment block destroyed by a missile that tore out a gaping hole in the building.
Russia denies targeting civilians but Ukraine has regularly reported that Russian missile and drone strikes have killed and wounded civilians and damaged civilian infrastructure in the full-scale war launched by Russia in February, 2022.
(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa Editing by Bernadette Baum, Robert Birsel and Andrew Heavens)