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Zelenskyy, Cameron discuss military assistance, grain corridors in Kyiv

Zelenskyy, Cameron discuss military assistance, grain corridors in Kyiv

On 16 November, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and David Cameron, the newly appointed UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs met in Kyiv to discuss an alternative “grain corridor,” the Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Peace Formula.

During the meeting, Zelenskyy emphasized the significance of strengthening Ukraine’s air defense system ahead of the winter to protect citizens and critical infrastructure from Russian attacks, the President’s Office reported.

The foreign secretary assured that the UK would continue to stand with the Ukrainian people as they resist Putin’s illegal 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. In my first discussions with President Zelenskyy in my new role, 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,” the official said.

On the same day, David Cameron had a meeting with Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister.

“Our talks at @MFA_Ukraine proved that Ukraine and the UK are determined to work together toward victory.

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

As a part of his visit, the foreign secretary also welcomed the launch of the new “Unity Facility”  between UK company Marsh McLennan and the Ukrainian government, which will provide affordable shipping insurance for grain and other critical food supplies globally from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

In addition, Cameron discussed Ukraine’s NATO aspirations with Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna.

“The UK is clear that Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO and is working with Allies to smooth the path to Ukraine’s accession by removing the need for a Membership Action Plan,” the UK government said in a statement after the meeting. 

On the second day of his visit to Ukraine, the foreign secretary also traveled to the Black Sea port city of Odesa. Cameron has become the first UK government minister to make such travels since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022.

“As Foreign Secretary, supporting Ukraine against Putin’s aggression is vital, which is why I am pleased to make this my first visit as Secretary of State,” Cameron said during his working visit. 

Odesa has been at the forefront of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian aggression. In the last three months, Ukraine has forced the Russian Navy to retreat after attacks on its headquarters and port infrastructure and opened alternative export corridors after the suspension of the Black Sea grain deal by Russia.

Zelenskyy says Russia’s Black Sea fleet forced to retreat

“We were able to intercept Russia’s initiative in the Black Sea and created such security conditions that force the aggressor to flee from the eastern part of the water area and try to hide warships,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram.

Ukraine’s efforts since Russia collapsed the Black Sea Grain Initiative, have allowed 91 ships to export 3.3 million tonnes of agricultural and other cargo.

While in Odesa, the Foreign Secretary also announced support for Ukrainians directly impacted by the invasion, including the provision of essential winter supplies and support for people being evacuated from front-line areas.

The UK is providing over $12 million for medical supplies to communities directly affected by Russia’s aggression through Ukraine’s Red Cross Society, Cameron said.

In addition, the UK will also provide more than $8,5 million to a consortium led by Nonviolent Peaceforce, which is supporting volunteer organizations delivering humanitarian assistance in dangerous front-line locations, and over $1,7 million to Mercy Corps which is currently operating in Ukraine.

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