David Cameron hails ‘friend’ Boris Johnson’s staunch backing for Ukraine as new Foreign Secretary makes first visit to Kyiv for talks with Volodymyr Zelensky
David Cameron today praised his ‘friend’ Boris Johnson’s staunch support for Ukraine as he made his first visit to Kiev.
The new foreign minister praised the ex-prime minister’s response to the Russian invasion as the “best thing he and his government have ever done.”
The comment came as Lord Cameron held talks with Volodymyr Zelensky, just days after making a shock return to government.
His predecessor James Cleverly was due to make the visit before being transferred to the Home Office in Monday’s reshuffle, which saw Suella Braverman sacked as Home Secretary.
Lord Cameron is also expected to visit Israel as soon as possible given the turmoil in the Middle East.
Speaking in Kiev, he said: ‘I wanted this to be my first trip. “I had some disagreements with my friend Boris Johnson, but I have known him for 40 years and his support for you was the best thing he and his government have ever done.”
Mr Zelensky made the announcement in a message on the Telegram messaging app, where he posted a short video of the two meeting. It was also shared on Twitter.
‘Weapons for the front lines, strengthening air defenses, protecting our people and critical infrastructure. I am grateful to Britain for its support,” Zelensky said in a statement on social media, accompanied by images of him and Cameron shaking hands.
New Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron (third from right) meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (third from left) in Kiev
David Cameron shakes hands with Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine
The visit comes just 18 months after Lord Cameron, then out of government, drove a truck carrying supplies for Ukraine to the country’s border with Poland (pictured)
The war in Gaza was also discussed in the conversations. Zelensky said he was grateful for the gesture, which comes amid conflict in the Middle East.
“The world is not that focused on the battlefield situation in Ukraine, and this division of attention really doesn’t help,” he added.
Mr Johnson – who had a “bromance” with Zelensky as prime minister – posted on social media site X that it was “great” to see Lord Cameron visit Kiev.
“Great news that Ukrainian forces have settled on the east bank of the Dnieper, and great to see our new foreign minister in Kiev,” he said.
The visit comes just 18 months after Lord Cameron, then out of government, drove a truck carrying supplies for Ukraine to the country’s border with Poland.
A month after the Russian invasion, he said he had already spent two years volunteering at a food project in west Oxfordshire, the Chippy Larder.
Through the project, he said donations had come in for refugees from Ukraine and they now had enough “to fill a small truck with everything from diapers to sanitary products, warm clothes to first aid kits.”
Lord Cameron became Foreign Secretary on Monday and the first visit to Ukraine will be aimed at demonstrating Britain’s continued support for the country.
His predecessor James Cleverly was due to make the visit before being transferred to the Home Office during Monday’s reshuffle.
Cameron is under pressure to reveal his links to ‘Chinese interests’ after it emerged Beijing has welcomed his shock return to cabinet.
The new Foreign Secretary’s work on an investment fund ‘designed by the Chinese state’ was raised by Sir Keir Starmer in the House of Commons, while other MPs highlighted his controversial lobbying activities since he left Number 10.
His foreign policy record also came under scrutiny at the first Prime Minister’s Questions since the reshuffle, with organizing a G8 summit a decade ago named his greatest achievement by Rishi Sunak.
It came after Lord Cameron’s “unique understanding of China” was praised by a Chinese Communist Party newspaper.
An article in the Global Times described the “golden era” of relations between the two countries during Cameron’s premiership, including the famous pint he enjoyed with President Xi Jinping at a pub near Chequers.
However, Lord Cameron’s activities since quitting Number 10 the morning after the EU referendum were mocked by Labor leader Sir Keir at yesterday’s PMQs.
“A few months ago, the Intelligence and Security Committee said that the role of the current Foreign Minister in a Chinese investment fund may have been – these are the words – ‘developed by the Chinese state.’ When will he instruct the foreign minister to make his work fully public for Chinese interests?”
Mr Sunak responded that he was “delighted” by Lord Cameron’s return, praising his “unparalleled experience” and insisting he would go through “the normal process with the independent adviser” on ministerial concerns.
Xi Jinping drinks fish and chips with David Cameron in a Buckinghamshire pub in 2015