Sunak sidesteps question on whether UK would push Ukraine to make peace deal

The Prime Minister pointed to the UK’s continued support for Ukraine when asked about Lord David Cameron’s reported talks with Donald Trump.

Helen Corbett
Monday 13 May 2024 17:02
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (PA)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (PA) (PA Wire)

Rishi Sunak would not be drawn on whether the UK was now in favour of Ukraine accepting a peace deal, instead pointing to the country’s ongoing support for Kyiv and defence spending.

After a speech in central London on Monday, Mr Sunak was asked about a report that Lord David Cameron persuaded Donald Trump to back more funding for Ukraine on the basis that it would allow Mr Trump to secure a peace deal between Moscow and Kyiv.

Mr Sunak responded by referring to the UK’s “track record of leadership” in support for Ukraine by providing tanks, long-range weapons, bilateral security assurances and training Ukrainian soldiers, saying maintaining this support was “the right thing to do” and that “everyone should be proud of it”.

He added: “When it comes to the Americans … whilst we are enormously grateful for the continued support and investment they put into European security, it’s not right to rely on American taxpayers to do that if we’re not prepared to make sacrifices for our own security. Now I am. That’s the decision I’ve made on defence spending.

“So when I’m in the US or when I talk to Americans and David Cameron does, when Grant Shapps (Defence Secretary) does, we’re able to say we are leading. We are investing more than anyone else in European security. It’s the right thing to do, others need to do the same and ensure that our alliance remains strong.”

An unnamed senior source told the Sunday Times that when Lord Cameron visited Mr Trump in his Florida home, the Foreign Secretary suggested that maintaining financial support for Ukraine’s military would be beneficial for Mr Trump.

Lord Cameron reportedly suggested that if Mr Trump won the US presidential election in January and inherited a stalemate, it would provide him the ideal conditions to make a deal. Mr Trump came out in support of a US aid package for Ukraine shortly afterwards.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters that he did not recognise the Sunday Times report.

The spokesman said: “We have been unequivocal in our position, Putin must fail in his illegal war in Ukraine. We will support Ukraine for as long as necessary to repel Russian aggression.”

Asked whether Mr Sunak and Lord Cameron were “on the same page” on Ukraine, the spokesman told reporters: “Yes, absolutely.”

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in