Europe 1 with AFP: Credits: Handout / UKRAINE PRESIDENCY / AFP 12:32 p.m., November 16, 2023

David Cameron, who was recently appointed as foreign secretary, visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday. During his visit, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom reiterated his country's support for Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday welcomed the arrival of the new head of British diplomacy in Kyiv, at a time when Ukraine is pleading for continued Western support at all costs, despite the Israel-Hamas conflict and Ukrainian difficulties on the front. President Volodymyr Zelensky received David Cameron, on a surprise visit to Ukraine, and his first trip abroad since his appointment on Monday.

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"Moral, diplomatic, economic, but above all military" support

"It's a huge honour to meet you," Cameron told President Zelensky, according to a video released by the Ukrainian presidency. "I wanted this to be my first visit, I admire the strength and determination of the Ukrainian people," he added. "We will continue to give you the moral, diplomatic, economic, but above all military support that you need not only this year, and next year, but for as long as it takes," the British official said.

This message comes at the right time for Ukraine, which is pleading for massive assistance from Europe and the United States to continue and for weariness not to take over after almost two years of war, especially since voices in the West are being raised to demand the reduction of support for Kiev in the face of the Russian invasion.

The United Kingdom, the second largest donor

President Zelensky thanked David Cameron for his visit, as the attention of Western powers has shifted from Ukraine to the start of the war between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza more than a month ago.

"Thank you for coming, it's very important. You know that the world is not focused on the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine ... because of the crisis" in the Middle East, he stressed. "Russia thinks that the West will end up focusing its attention elsewhere (than Ukraine). Nothing could be further from the truth," said Cameron, whose country is the second-largest donor of military aid to Ukraine, with 4.6 billion pounds (5.3 billion euros) pledged to date.

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Strengthening Ukraine's air defence

Negotiations with the British delegation focused on deliveries of "weapons for the front line, strengthening air defense, protecting our population and critical infrastructure," President Zelensky added on Telegram.

Ukraine is looking to bolster its air defenses as winter approaches expecting a new campaign of Russian attacks on its energy grid, as was already the case the previous winter, when millions of Ukrainians were without heat or electricity in freezing temperatures. During his talks in Kyiv, David Cameron was also briefed on the military situation, as the front has been almost frozen for a year, despite the launch of a vast Ukrainian counter-offensive in June.

The head of the Ukrainian army, Valery Zaluzhny, admitted in early November that the two armies were currently "at an impasse". Kyiv's troops, however, have recently managed to establish positions on the left bank of the Dnieper River in the Russian-occupied Kherson region. If the Ukrainians were able to break through the Russian lines in this area, it would be a major success.