U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron tells Antony Blinken $300 billion in frozen Russian assets should be used to rebuild Ukraine and as a ‘down payment’ on Kremlin reparations

David Cameron is to tell Antony Blinken on Thursday the U.K. believes there is a ‘strong argument’ for seizing frozen Russian assets and spending them on rebuilding Ukraine.

The British Foreign Secretary will tell his U.S, counterpart the money could also be used as a ‘down payment’ on reparations that Vladimir Putin should later be made to pay for invading his neighbor.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington, before a meeting with Blinken, Cameron said he was also urging Congress to approve a fresh package of military aid for Ukraine.

He said if that was not done it could cost American lives later because Putin would not stop.

David Cameron speaking in Washington on December 7, 2023

Cameron was meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Cameron was meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Cameron also met with Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to discuss Ukraine

Cameron also met with Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to discuss Ukraine

The former Prime Minister also defended Europe’s contribution to the defense of Ukraine.

He said if economic and humanitarian aid was counted – not just military – then Europe had spent twice as much as the U.S.

Kyiv has argued that about $300 billion in Russian Central Bank assets frozen by Western banks should be confiscated and used as part of the cost of rebuilding.

Cameron said: “There’s a very strong argument for saying let’s, instead of just freezing that money, let’s take that money, spend it on rebuilding Ukraine and that is, if you like, a down payment on reparations that Russia will one day have to pay for the illegal invasion that they’ve undertaken.

“I’ve looked at all the arguments and so far, I haven’t seen anything that convinces me this is a bad idea.”

Joe Biden has pleaded with Republicans to pass a new package that would include $61 billion for Ukraine.

However, Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked the Democrat-backed legislation amid growing concerns over the cost, and because they want it tied to new investments in U.S. border security.

Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on December 7, 2023

Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on December 7, 2023

A makeshift memorial made of thousands of personalized small flags to fallen defenders of Ukraine

A makeshift memorial made of thousands of personalized small flags to fallen defenders of Ukraine

Cameron met with Republican Speaker Mike Johnson on his first visit to Washington since being appointed Foreign Secretary.

Later, he said: ‘If there is a victory for Putin it won’t be the end of this. If we let him win in Ukraine it will be somewhere else next. And it won’t just be American money that’s a trisk. It might be a NATO country. So it could be American lives.’

He added: ‘I’m not worried about the strength and unity and consensus and bravery of the Ukrainian people. I’m worried that we’re not going to do what we need to do.

‘We’ve got to make sure we give them the weapons, the economic support, the moral support the diplomatic support, but crucially, that military support that can make a difference.”

Cameron said Ukraine was the ‘great test for our generation’ and ‘European security is also American security.’

He said: “We should pass this money to the Ukrainians. We should back them and make sure that it’s Putin that loses because if that money doesn’t get voted through, there are only two people that will be smiling – one of them is Vladimir Putin in Russia and the other one is Xi Jinping in Beijing.”

Cameron said China has changed since he was Prime Minister

Cameron said China has changed since he was Prime Minister

Cameron is interviewed at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington

Cameron is interviewed at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington

Cameron also warned that China was not the same as when he heralded a “golden era” in relations as Prime Minister in 2015.

He said: “China has changed. It is a different China we’re dealing with and we need to harden our systems and be very clear eyed as a result.”

Cameron also said that people calling for for ‘an immediate and permanent ceasefire’ in Gaza ‘need to understand that if you stop now, with Hamas still in charge of even a part of Gaza, there can never be a two-state solution.’

He added that the world was likely to face more, rather than less, crises due toi the behavior of countries including Iran and China.

‘We’ve got two crises in the world at the moment – Ukraine and the Middle East. I think it’s probably more likely we get a third than we lose one of the two we got already,’ he said.

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