British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed ongoing efforts to support Ukraine in defending itself against Russia at a joint news conference at the State Department. Cleverly emphasized the importance of not only looking at the context “through the prism of the conflict but also to focus on the future rebuilding work that will inevitably be needed. “
The UK will host the Ukraine Recovery Conference to seek to build a coalition that will enable Ukraine to rebuild its country after the conflict has been concluded, Cleverly said. “From the UK’s point of view, we’ll of course also continue to provide financial and military aid. We intend to give the Ukrainians the tools they need to successfully defend themselves against the invasion,” said Cleverly.
He also criticized Putin for using hunger to gain leverage by blocking grain supply through the Black Sea.
When asked about Ukraine’s ability to regain its territory, Blinken said, “It’s been our determination to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs to effectively defend itself against Russian aggression.”
Cleverly acknowledged the UK’s provision of anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine ahead of the February 2022 invasion by Russia, which proved consequential in Ukraine’s defense of Kyiv. He praised the US for being an active and effective supporter from the start and the largest donor of the allies. “So I wouldn’t want to imply that there’s either competition between us or anything else. We have from the very start worked in close coordination,” Cleverly said.
Commenting on the Ukrainians’ forthcoming counteroffensive, Cleverly said, “I’ve made the point that this is not a film. There are no certainties when it comes to conflict. The Ukrainians have consistently outperformed expectations, but there can be no guarantees in war.” The foreign secretary added that the Ukrainians quickly learned and defended themselves effectively.
The UK’s message at the press conference was that the UK and US need to “continue to support” Ukraine, “irrespective of whether this forthcoming offensive generates huge gains on the battlefield.” Cleverly said, “until this conflict is resolved and resolved properly, it is not over.”
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