David Cameron rejects Trump’s peace plan as he warns against ‘appeasing’ Putin

David Cameron has rejected a reported plan by Donald Trump to negotiate Ukrainian territory with Russia in order to end the war, warning against “appeasing” Vladimir Putin.

The foreign secretary, who was on the last day of a trip to the United States to push for more support for Kyiv, said it was vital to show “strength” rather than weakness in order to resolve the conflict.

Mr Trump, who hopes to become president again in November, is reportedly prepared to pressure Ukraine to give up Crimea and the Donbas border region to Russia to secure a peace agreement. The Donbas contains the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed the suggestion as “primitive”.

Asked how Britain would feel about a peace settlement that would cede some Ukrainian territory to Putin, Lord Cameron told CNN: “Everyone wants to see an end to the killing and an end to the war... but you only get that by backing Ukraine, by showing strength. Peace comes through strength, not through appeasement and weakness.”

His comments came as:

  • The top US general in Europe warned Congress that Ukraine would run out of artillery shells and air defence interceptors “in fairly short order” without American support

  • The bishop for Ukraine in London urged the US and the UK to “honour their pledges” and not forget that Ukraine is fighting Russia to save the “rule of law and democracy”

  • Russian airstrikes on Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region hit a clinic and a pharmacy, killing at least three people

Asked about Mr Trump’s plan, which was first reported by The Washington Post, Lord Cameron added: “I don’t think we should be discussing those things right now; we should be discussing how do we get Ukraine back on the front foot?

“They’ve showed incredible bravery. They’ve showed that they can win against Putin, they’re not going to lose for lack of morale, they’re not going to lose for lack of ingenuity on the battlefield.

“The only way they can lose is if we don’t give them the support they deserve.”

Similar language has previously provoked the ire of senior Republicans. Earlier this year, he warned Congress not to show “the weakness displayed against Hitler” in the 1930s.

Lord Cameron has held a series of high-profile meetings during his US visit to try and unlock a $60bn military aid package currently being blocked in Congress.

But he appears to have been snubbed by a key Trump ally, House of Representatives speaker Mike Johnson, as he met US politicians to urge them to support Ukraine’s war effort.

He has also been forced to defend his face-to-face meeting with Mr Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which came after he previously called him “xenophobic, [and] misogynistic”, insisting the meeting did not break protocol.

In a message to Republicans, the ex-prime minister said funding for Ukraine would be good for US jobs and security and show the West was prepared to stand up to “bullies”.

Speaking after a meeting with Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, he said: “I just come here as a great friend and believer in this country and a believer that it’s profoundly in your interest, in your security, and your future and the future of your partners to release this money and let it through.”

Lord Cameron also warned decisions on Ukraine cannot be delayed until after November’s election.

“There’s a risk that Ukraine will lose more ground to Putin, and no one wants to be in a situation in November where we could have acted, we could have helped, we could have beaten back Putin, we could have started the process of getting a Ukraine win and getting a just peace but we failed to do that,” he said.

Separately, the Ukrainian president warned ceding territory would pave the way for more Russian aggression.

“If the deal is that we just give up our territories, and that’s the idea behind it, then it’s a very primitive idea,” Mr Zelensky told Politico. “I don’t need a fantastic idea, I need a real idea because people’s lives are at stake.”

Meanwhile, in London, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski said Ukraine was not asking for soldiers on the ground but simply for funding to continue its fight against Putin.

“This is not just a battle for Ukraine,” the bishop told The Independent. “It is the battle for rule of law, democracy and freedoms that we have all taken advantage of. That we stand to lose.

“The challenge for us moving forward is to ensure that those in the US, here and the West continue to encourage politicians to honour their pledges.”

The Trump campaign has been approached for comment.