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UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy says commitment to Ukraine 'is ironclad'

UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy speaks at a press conference in Chobielin, July 7, 2024
UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy speaks at a press conference in Chobielin, July 7, 2024 Copyright Screenshot from EBU video 2024_10243897
Copyright Screenshot from EBU video 2024_10243897
By Euronews with EBU
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On his second day in the job, Lammy is on a whirlwind tour of 'key partner' countries Germany, Poland and Sweden where continued support for Ukraine was high on the agenda.

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Foreign Secretary David Lammy has said the UK's commitment to Ukraine is "ironclad".

Lammy was speaking in Chobielin after meeting his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski where the two ministers discussed security issues ahead of next week’s NATO summit in Washington.

They stressed both countries were prepared to provide long-term support to Ukraine, with Lammy saying that the UK took its commitment to Ukraine and NATO "very, very seriously indeed".

"What I think will be achieved over the coming days is that we demonstrate to Putin that we are there for a long haul and that the finances to support Ukraine financially, militarily and in terms of aid the alliance is firm and very importantly united. That is what will come out of DC," he told reporters in Poland.

Sikorski said NATO leaders would present a united front at the 75th summit in Washington, saying Poland is a frontrunner "in terms of helping Ukraine".

UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy and his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski speak at a press conference in Chobielin, July 7, 2024
UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy and his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski speak at a press conference in Chobielin, July 7, 2024Screenshot from EBU video 2024_10243897

"So we will confirm that we are the most powerful alliance in history and that the fate of Ukraine is in our vital interest. And the best thing Putin could do is to retreat from the disastrous, criminal mistake he made," he said.

Lammy's whirlwind first trip as foreign secretary was organised at very short notice and aims to reset ties between the UK and the EU.

His first stop was Germany where he discussed NATO, Ukraine and climate change with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock.

Baerbock's office took to X shortly after that meeting and said, "the United Kingdom is an indispensable part of Europe" and that Germany is eager to collaborate with the new UK government "to see how the UK can move closer to the EU."

From Germany it was on to Poland then to NATO's newest member, Sweden. Ukraine topped the agenda in all of those countries.

Together, all four are staunch supporters of Ukraine and Keir Starmer's new government is keen to stress that UK support for the war-torn country is solid. 

Lammy referred to Germany, Poland and Sweden as "key partners" as he seeks closer ties with Europe which have been strained for several years since the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

"Let us put the Brexit years behind us," Lammy told The Observer newspaper.

"We are not going to rejoin the single market and the customs union but there is much that we can do together."

The UK's new Defence Secretary John Healey is in Odessa and following talks with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his foreign minister Rustem Umerov, Healey pledged more artillery guns, ammunition rounds and missiles for Ukraine.

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Reset at home

Meanwhile, a reset was also on the agenda for Keir Starmer who is on a whirlwind trip of his own, around the constituent nations of the United Kingdom. 

In Scotland on Sunday, which Starmer billed as an "immediate reset" with the devolved governments, he said would seek to improve the UK's trade deal with the European Union which he called "botched".

"I do think that we can get a much better deal than the botched deal that Boris Johnson saddled the UK with," he said in reference to the pact negotiated after Brexit.

In talks with Scotland's First Minister John Swinney, Starmer said he aimed to "turn disagreement into cooperation."

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Britain's Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria pose for the media on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street in London, July 5, 2024
Britain's Prime Minister Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria pose for the media on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street in London, July 5, 2024Kin Cheung/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

"We will serve every single person in Scotland," Starmer said. "Performance, self-interest: they’re the politics of the past. The politics of this Labour government of 2024 is about public service, restoring standards of making sure that we always, always have in our mind’s eye the people who elected us into government." 

While each of the devolved nations in the UK elects members to the House of Commons in London, they also have their own regional parliaments.

Starmer's Labour Party trounced Swinney’s Scottish National Party for seats in Parliament. But the SNP, which has pushed for Scottish independence, still holds a majority at Holyrood, the Scottish parliament.

Swinney said after meeting the prime minister that he believed there's an opportunity to work together to make a difference for the Scottish people.

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"We continued our conversation about areas of shared interest. I believe there is an opportunity for collaborative working that can make a difference to people’s lives and I hope to work with Sir Keir’s new Government to deliver progress for the benefit of people in Scotland," Swinney said.

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