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Monday, December 11, 2023

David Cameron Embarks on Inaugural Formal Trip to Ukraine

The newly appointed Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, embarked on his inaugural official visit to Ukraine, engaging in a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.

Lord Cameron reiterated the United Kingdom’s steadfast support for Ukraine, pledging not only moral and diplomatic assistance but, significantly, a commitment to provide military support for as long as necessary. President Zelensky congratulated Cameron’s recent appointment and conveyed gratitude for the continuous support from the UK.

Highlighting the importance of unity during global attention to conflicts, particularly in Ukraine and the Middle East, Zelensky welcomed Cameron’s visit. He acknowledged the UK’s unwavering support, the warm reception of Ukrainian citizens in the UK, and the significance of the visit amid the prevailing global focus.

Sharing a brief video of the encounter on social media, Zelensky quoted Lord Cameron expressing, “I wanted this to be my first visit,” underscoring the priority given to Ukraine. Lord Cameron assured ongoing assistance in moral, diplomatic, economic, and crucially, military aspects, emphasizing sustained support not only for the current and next year but for the duration required.

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The discussion between the two leaders extended to matters of weaponry, arms production, and Black Sea security, as outlined by Ukraine’s foreign ministry. Lord Cameron, in a post-meeting statement, reaffirmed the UK’s solidarity with Ukraine as it resists Russia’s illegal invasion. He commended Ukraine’s recent achievements in pushing back Russian forces in the Black Sea and facilitating essential sea trade routes.

Acknowledging the challenging winter ahead, Lord Cameron emphasized the UK’s commitment to stand by the Ukrainian people. He highlighted the progress made by Ukrainian forces, notably their establishment of positions across the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine. This advancement, crossing a significant geographical barrier, brought a renewed sense of hope to Ukrainians amid a counter-offensive that had struggled to reclaim substantial territory.

The UK’s substantial military aid to Ukraine was underscored, including donations of Challenger 2 tanks and long-range missiles. Lord Cameron’s visit coincided with the positive development of Ukrainian forces securing positions along the Dnipro River, marking a potential turning point in the ongoing conflict.

Cameron’s return

Lord Cameron’s recent appointment signifies his reentry into the cabinet, marking his return after an absence of more than seven years.

Assuming the role formerly held by James Cleverly, who has now transitioned to the position of Home Secretary in a notable overhaul of Rishi Sunak’s cabinet on Monday, Lord Cameron brings a wealth of experience to the forefront.

The former Prime Minister, who served from 2010 to 2016, stepped down following the UK’s decision to exit the EU, a move contrary to his support for the Remain campaign. During the intervening years, Lord Cameron has been engaged in diverse pursuits, including business ventures, charitable endeavors, teaching, and public speaking.

However, his return to the front bench has not been without controversy. Notably, as he is no longer an elected Member of Parliament, Lord Cameron will sit as a peer rather than in the Commons. This has raised concerns among opposition parties and Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle regarding the accountability mechanisms for holding Lord Cameron to scrutiny.

Given his absence from the Commons chamber, where MPs traditionally pose questions during regular departmental scrutiny sessions, the responsibility will fall on ministers under his purview at the Foreign Office. Andrew Mitchell and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, among others, are set to field these inquiries. Although deputies answering on behalf of a department is not uncommon, the situation has sparked debates about the effectiveness of parliamentary accountability in Lord Cameron’s case, particularly in the absence of his direct presence in the Commons chamber.

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