If the winner of the U.S. election isn’t as eager as President Joe Biden to defend democracy on the continent over the past 15 months, Ukraine and its allies will again be subject to the whims of U.S. voters next year. .
The Republican front-runner, former President Donald Trump, has refused to say whether he believes Ukraine should win the war with Russia, and his chief challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said: It describes Russia’s unprovoked aggression as “territory” and avoids disputes. conflict.
Asked by CNN’s Caitlan Collins on Thursday about Trump’s comments, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stressed the United States’ “strong support” for funding Ukraine, citing parliamentary leaders from both parties this week. He added that the meeting with the United States showed a willingness to support the country’s ongoing efforts. Defend yourself in Russian aggression.
“Obviously, it is not appropriate for me to comment on domestic politics here. I think there is a strong following,” Sunak said in an exclusive interview at the presidential palace. Blairhouse, shortly after meeting with Biden.
“As I said earlier, I think there is a recognition that the values we are fighting for are universal. he added.
In a clear nod to President Trump lamenting that NATO nations have not met the Security Alliance spending pledge of 2% of GDP, Sunak added: I am proud to say that the UK does. After the United States, the degree of contribution to Ukraine assistance is large. More broadly, when it comes to defense spending, our country is one of the few countries that invests 2% of its GDP in defense. ”
This is a position he has been discussing with other leaders, he said. “I think it is reasonable and correct to expect other countries in the NATO alliance to increase their defense spending to that level, and that is what I am telling other leaders as well,” Sunak replied. .
Asked what would happen to Sunak’s relationship with President Trump, he said the so-called special relationship between the two countries “has been maintained regardless of who holds the various jobs. It’s because our perspectives are so aligned, and we instinctively see the world the same way.”
The comments came after the British leader met with Biden at the White House, where the two spoke of the country’s close ties and shared views on Ukraine.
The Ukrainian military has stepped up its shaping operations in recent weeks, usually hitting Russian targets such as fuel depots and weapons depots far behind the front lines ahead of large-scale advances by ground forces. . But the Nova Khakovka Dam breach could complicate a planned Ukrainian counteroffensive while also flooding Russia’s frontline defenses.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Snack hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
Ukraine and Russia hold each other responsible for the dam failure. Sunak said it was “too early to say” who caused the collapse. “But if it turns out to be a deliberate attack by Russia, it would be consistent with the pattern of behavior we’ve seen throughout this war: Russia’s intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure. It will be.”
Britain was the first country to provide long-range missiles to Ukraine, and Moscow has warned that NATO members could effectively become direct parties to the war.
Asked how Russian President Vladimir Putin would react if Ukraine used British missiles to hit Russian targets, he remembered that Ukraine, the West and NATO did not start the war. said I need to keep
“This war is nothing more than an unprovoked and illegal act of aggression by the Russian side,” he said.
At 43, Sunak is the youngest leader in a G7 club in an industrial democracy, while Biden is the oldest at 80. Mr. Sunak said the age difference between the two means Mr. Biden’s diplomatic experience, especially over China, “is particularly valuable to a newcomer like me.” to this. ”
“I think the experience of President Biden is very helpful, especially on issues like China. [China’s] President Xi [Jinping],” He said.
Despite two changes in leadership in the past 12 months, the UK remains the front-runner among donors to Ukraine, second only to the US in total financial aid.
Under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain pressured Europe and other Western allies to supply Ukraine with lethal defense systems and tanks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky repeatedly thanked Mr Johnson for this, and Ukrainians even renamed streets in Kiev after the former British leader.
Mr. Sunak has continued this policy and has recently put pressure on allies to push forward with the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine.
The meeting with Mr. Biden marks a turning point in the Russia-Ukraine war ahead of the widely anticipated counterattack aimed at regaining territory after the Nova Kakhovka Dam collapse.
Biden also said at a news conference on Thursday that he was confident Congress would continue to support Ukraine.
“Actually, I believe we can secure the funding we need to help Ukraine as long as it takes time,” Biden said. “We believe we can get that support, it will become a reality.”