'We must recognise cost of giving up' support for Ukraine, David Cameron tells UN

Lord David Cameron has warned the UN about the consequences of withdrawing support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

The foreign secretary was speaking to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on the eve of the second anniversary of the invasion.

It comes as Ukraine faces acute shortages of ammunition, with European countries struggling to find enough stocks to send to Kyiv, and American military aid worth $60bn (£47bn) stalled over political differences in Congress.

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Lord Cameron said: "Two years on, I recognise some want to rethink. There is a sense of fatigue, there are other problems, a compromise might seem attractive.

"But this is wrong.

"We must recognise the cost of giving up.

"Putin has said there will be no peace until Russia's goals are achieved, and in his recent interview, he studiously avoided confirming he was satisfied with the land seized from Ukraine at present.

"This is not a man seeking compromise - rather, this is a neo-imperialist bully who believes that might is right."

He added that, if Putin were to "eke out some kind of win, the rest of the world would suffer too".

Lord Cameron was asked by Sky US correspondent Mark Stone about how he plans to convince American politicians to support Ukraine.

Lord Cameron said that "history teaches us that when we don't involved and help defend a country against a dictator's invasions, when we eventually get involved, the price that is paid in money, and the price that is paid ultimately in American lives is greater".

The Tory peer started his UN speech by saying he warned about the dangers of Vladimir Putin in 2008, when he was leader of the opposition, and Russian troops entered South Ossetia in Georgia.

And he spoke of how he was prime minister in 2014 when Putin's "little green men" entered Crimea.

"I said that if we did not stand up to Putin, he would be back for more," the foreign secretary told the UN.

"Now, having tried and failed to conquer all of Ukraine, the lesson of this history is clear. If we do not stand up to Putin, he will be back for more."

He added that he believes the world "has started properly to wake up to Putin's menace".

Lord Cameron went on to criticise the Russian leader's "ahistorical claim" Ukraine's existence "is anti-Russian".

"A claim which runs contrary to the principle of self-determination - one of the foundations of the United Nations."

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The foreign secretary criticised the Russian claims that Western nations are "somehow out to dismember Russia" - a "central lie" in the conflict as he and other leaders spent years trying to build relationships with Moscow.

"We did that because we profoundly believe that a secure, stable Russia, at peace with its neighbours, is in our interests and the world's," he said.

"It is a tragedy that Putin prefers to hark back to the ninth century to justify aggression rather than taking up this offer of a different path."

The secretary went on to explain why he believes "we must stay strong".

A "win" in Ukraine for Putin "would not end there".

"Putin could easily apply his distortions of history elsewhere, such as Moldova or the Baltic States, and others will be emboldened to turn to fighting when it suits them," Lord Cameron said.

"No country with a large, aggressive neighbour would be safe."

Lord Cameron ended his speech by saying: "So yes, we should stand by Ukraine - but not just for Ukraine, not just for Europe, but for the world and a simple principle.

"The security of borders, the sanctity of nations, the principle of self-determination.

"Ukraine's fight is our fight the world's fight, and the world must stay strong."

Speaking later at the UK security council, Lord Cameron said "we all must to stand up to Putin".

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He added: "If we give into the idea that one country can invade another with impunity, then we will be left in a dreadful situation where any country could face a similar fate.

"Respect for sovereignty lies at the heart of the international system. At the heart of the United Nations. Nothing matters more to its members than having our borders treated as inviolable.

"And that's why nothing should matter more to us than seeing Putin fail.

"We must not falter. We must stand firm."