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UK’s Cameron meets Zelensky in Kyiv on first trip abroad as foreign minister

UK’s Cameron meets Zelensky in Kyiv on first trip abroad as foreign minister
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) welcoming Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron prior to a meeting in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine, 16 November 2023. Britain's Foreign Secretary Cameron traveled to Kyiv for his first overseas visit to 'underline the UK's steadfast support for Ukraine' amid the Russian invasion, the British government said in a statement. EPA-EFE/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT -- MANDATORY CREDIT: UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

KYIV, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Britain's Foreign Secretary David Cameron travelled to wartime Kyiv and met President Volodymyr Zelensky for talks on his first working trip abroad, the Ukrainian leader said on Thursday.

Former prime minister Cameron, who was named as Britain’s new foreign minister on Monday, said in a video posted by Zelensky’s office that he wanted to underscore London’s support for Ukraine.

Zelensky said he was grateful for the gesture, which comes amid a conflict in the Middle East that he said had drawn global attention away from Ukraine’s war with Russia, which is now in its 21st month and and has no end in sight.

“The world is not so focused on the battlefield situation in Ukraine, and this dividing of the focus really does not help,” he 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.

Britain has been a close ally of Ukraine throughout the full-scale war launched by Russia in February 2022.

“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,” Cameron said.

He added that Britain would work with its allies “to make sure the attention is here in Ukraine”.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he and Cameron held talks at his ministry.

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

Ukraine is trying to build up a Black Sea shipping corridor to revive its seaborne exports, defying threats from Moscow which quit a U.N.-brokered deal in July that had allowed some food exports to flow despite the war.

The Ukrainian statements did not say when the talks took place. Strict security measures in place because of the war mean details of visits by foreign dignitaries are sometimes released only some time after they have happened.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk and Olena Harmash; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Gareth Jones)

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