The UK and France reiterate that Russia's invasion of Ukraine must end in failure as US aid falters

AP , Tuesday 19 Dec 2023

Britain and France reiterated their determination Tuesday that Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine fails, with the U.K. foreign minister saying that Ukraine's allies must better leverage their economic might to vastly outmatch Moscow's war machine.

 Ukrainian soldiers practice on a tank during military training, in Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023
Ukrainian soldiers practice on a tank during military training, in Ukraine, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023. AP

The renewed insistence from U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron and French counterpart Catherine Colonna that Russia can't be rewarded for its aggression comes as wartime aid from Ukraine's biggest single military backer — the United States — is faltering.

Cameron, speaking after talks with Colonna in Paris, said that if the economies of Ukraine's Western partners are calculated together, “we outmatch the Russian economy by 25 to one or more.”

“What we have to do is make that economic strength and that commitment pay,” he said. “If we can, I have no doubt that we can make sure that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin loses and it's essential that he does lose.”

Neither Cameron nor Colonna announced new aid for Ukraine in their comments to reporters. They took no questions.

“Hand in hand since the beginning, our two countries are working together to ensure that the Russian aggression is not rewarded, is a failure," Colonna said.

Cameron said that U.K. and French support for Ukraine will continue “for as long as it takes.”

Likening the war to “a play that comes in different acts,” he also said that Ukraine's allies must determine its next phase.

“The first act," he said, "was the stunning failure of Russia to achieve its objectives” — when the Russian invasion forces first thrust for the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in February and March of 2022 and were beaten back.

The second act was Ukraine's counteroffensive in the summer of 2022, he said, "the brilliance that the Ukrainians showed in driving back the Russians, taking back half the territory that had been lost, pushing them back across the Black Sea."

"The third act has been more difficult on land,” he said, a seeming reference to Ukraine’s disappointing counteroffensive this summer.

“But the fourth act is yet to be written and we must make sure we write it in the correct way, with our friends and partners in the Western world.”

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