Lord Cameron rules out the presence of Western forces on the ground in Ukraine

  • Written by Jennifer McKernan
  • BBC political correspondent

Lord Cameron has ruled out sending Western troops into Ukraine to avoid giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a “target”.

The Foreign Secretary admitted that “the war will be lost if the allies do not come forward” on the BBC's Ukraine Cast programme.

But when asked whether Western countries should send troops to Ukraine, Lord Cameron replied: “No.”

He added that NATO must be in “the best possible shape” before the US elections.

Lord Cameron was speaking at the two-day summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which includes 32 foreign ministers, in Brussels.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has put forward plans for a military aid package for Ukraine worth €100bn (£86bn) over five years, with the aim of finalizing the package in time for the next summit in Washington in July.

Reuters news agency quoted one of the diplomats as saying that the package “goes to some extent for protection in the case of Trump. But it is impossible to create something that is resistant to Trump.”

Lord Cameron said he would make his second visit to the United States since becoming Foreign Secretary next week, and would urge Congress to provide more financial support, which “could change the situation” in Ukraine.

“If we can get this money from the US Congress, if we can provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs, if we can show Putin that he cannot outmaneuver us, that Ukraine will fight and win again,” he told Ukraine Cast. More of its territory.

“If we can do all these things, whoever arrives in November, we will look at the situation in Ukraine and… we will look at more and more NATO members who are spending 2% of their GDP on defense and say, “This is a success.” The story: I want to invest in this success.

“So, turn Ukraine and NATO into the strongest possible alliance with the strongest prospects for success. Whoever wins in November 2024 will inherit a better situation.”

The UK is a founding member of NATO, which was formed 75 years ago by countries including the United States, Canada and France in order to prevent the expansion of the Soviet Union – a group of communist countries that includes Russia.

Some NATO members have sent weapons to Ukraine, with the UK, US, Germany and Turkey providing anti-tank weapons, missile defense systems, artillery guns, tanks and military drones.

The United States and the United Kingdom also provided long-range missiles.

In response to a question about concerns that the war could spill over to the Ukrainian border, especially in Poland and the Baltics, Lord Cameron gave assurances that NATO would intervene in those circumstances, under the organisation's Article 5 pledge that “an attack against one is an attack against all”. .

The former Prime Minister said the UK would use the “NATO architecture” to provide support to Ukraine, but distinguished between NATO’s mission “for Ukraine” and “in Ukraine”.

He added: “I think it is not an escalation to say that we will help this independent, sovereign state fight the aggressor, and we will provide it with all the assistance we can in order to do so.”

Britain gave Ukraine more than £7 billion and trained more than 60,000 Ukrainian soldiers, in a program that began during Cameron's presidency.

But the foreign minister urged other countries supporting Ukraine to step up their efforts as well, perhaps by donating weapons.

“Some weapons have an expiration date,” he added. “It's much better to give it to Ukraine and they can use it than to have to decommission it at home which actually costs you money.”

Ukraine Cast presenter Lucy Hawkings tried to ask the Foreign Secretary about his views on the conflict between Israel and Gaza, but he refused to comment, saying he wanted to focus on Ukraine.

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