Biden, Sunak Warn Putin 'We're Not Going Anywhere' As Western Allies Line Up Behind Ukraine
U.S. President Joe Biden and his British guest, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on Thursday touted their "unwavering support" for Ukraine and shared condemnation of Vladimir Putin's brutal aggression, as the two leaders met at the White House, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.
"President Putin will be thinking that he can wait us out, that the Alliance will tire, we’ll get fatigued, and we’ll give up... That is not the case," Rishi Sunak said, warning the Kremlin leader "we're not going anywhere!"
"We will be here for as long as it takes. And hopefully that will speed up the calculation in his (Putin's) mind that he should withdraw his forces and stop what is an illegal and unprovoked act of aggression," Sunak added.
It was the first time Mr Sunak had visited the home of the American presidency. The U.S. and U.K. are the two biggest donors to Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, and play a central role in a long-term effort announced last month to train, and eventually equip Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets
Biden, responding to a question at the joint press conference, reiterated confidence that the U.S. Congress would continue to provide Ukraine funding as needed despite some hesitation among Republican leaders at the growing cost of the war for American taxpayers.
The two leaders also focused attention on improving the resilience of critical supply chains to shut Russia out of the global civil nuclear market.
"Today we have agreed on the 'Atlantic Declaration', a new economic partnership for a new age, of a kind that has never been agreed before," Sunak said.
The agreement includes a narrow trade pact covering critical minerals needed for electric car batteries, closer defence industry cooperation, easing trade barriers, and a new data protection deal.
According to Sunak, countries like China and Russia "are willing to manipulate and exploit our openness, steal our intellectual property, use technology for authoritarian ends or withdraw crucial resources like energy. They will not succeed."
White in Washington, Sunak also made the case to Biden for British Defense Minister Ben Wallace to succeed outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who is set to end his term in September.
Stoltenberg is slated to meet with Biden at the White House on Monday. When asked if it was time for a British leader for NATO, Biden told reporters “it may be” but “that remains to be seen.”
“We’re going to have to get a consensus within NATO,” he said.
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