James Cleverly aims to persuade US and Canada to send tanks to Ukraine on trip to North America

Ukraine is set to be top of the agenda as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly begins a two-day trip to the US and Canada.

Speaking ahead of his departure, Mr Cleverly said: “The UK, US and Canada always have each other’s backs when it counts, protecting the rules-based order for nearly 80 years.”

He continued: “Today we stand united against Putin’s illegal war, and we will continue to use our uniquely strong defence and security ties to ensure that, in the end, the Ukrainian people will win.”

He will deliver a keynote speech at Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies, at which he is set to outline Britain’s foreign policy priorities before talks with his US counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The two will then hold a joint news conference.

On Monday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced that British tanks, artillery pieces and armoured vehicles are to be sent to Ukraine.

Mr Cleverly is set to use this British pledge to persuade the Americans and the Canadians to follow the UK’s lead. He is expected to stress the need for the right battlefield tools to be given to the Ukrainians quickly to allow them to win the war.

The Americans have delivered billions of dollars worth of weaponry to Ukraine over the past 11 months, but only in carefully managed tranches with limited capability for fear of provoking Russia.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he is committed to the acceleration of the UK’s diplomatic and military assistance to Ukraine as