Sunak’s visit to the White House produced a new strategic pact between the US and UK as they rededicated the “special relationship” to counter a wide range of threats.

As well as that posed by Russia, the two leaders also discussed China, economic instability, climate change and the lightning-fast evolution of artificial intelligence.

The result was the adoption of an “Atlantic Declaration,” which states: “We face new challenges to international stability – from authoritarian states such as Russia and the People's Republic of China (PRC); disruptive technologies; non-state actors; and transnational challenges like climate change.”

How high up was Ukraine on the agenda?

Very, and the summit produced strong messages of support and commitment from both.

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Both Biden and Sunak promised to keep spearheading the global effort to help Ukraine, and with the former reiterating his country’s “unwavering support for the people of Ukraine who are defending themselves against most brutal aggression we have seen in a long time.”

Crucially considering next year’s U.S. presidential elections and fears that a Republican – or even a Donald Trump – victory could lead to a reduction in support for Ukraine, Biden said the US would provide “funding necessary to support Ukraine as long as it takes.”

Sunak took a similar line, pledging support for “years to come,” adding: “It's daunting to think of the conversations that our predecessors had in this room, when they had to speak of wars that they fought together, peace won together.

Pentagon Says Ukraine Can US Weapons Anywhere Across The Border Into Russia
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Pentagon Says Ukraine Can US Weapons Anywhere Across The Border Into Russia

Pentagon spokesperson Major General Patrick Ryder said that while there had been no change in policy, Kyiv’s use of weapons against Russian troops was not limited to near Kharkiv on the Russian side.

“Again, for the first time in over half a century, we face a war on the European continent, and as we've done before the US and the UK have stood together to support Ukraine.”

Why are people so worried about Donald Trump?

Because he has repeatedly voiced the untenable assertion that he could “end the war in 24 hours,” which would essentially mean Ukraine laying down arms and ceding vast swathes of territory to Russia.

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How is Donald Trump these days?

Not great, he’s just been indicted over his handling of classified documents after he left the White House which could throw a wrench into his plans to run for president.

Was he mentioned at the summit?

 Sunak did address the Trump issue in an interview with CNN, he sought to reassure people about the longer-term commitment for Ukraine from the US. 

“Obviously, it wouldn’t be right for me to comment on domestic politics here,” he said. “But I did spend a good amount of time in Congress yesterday talking to leaders from both parties, and I think there is strong support for the efforts that America is putting in to support Ukraine.”

“I think there’s an acknowledgment, as I said, that the values that we’re fighting for are universal. They are values that America has always stood up for, which is democracy, freedom and the rule of law.”

In an apparent nod to Trump who, throughout his four years as president constantly bemoaned the fact that the US was the biggest financial contributor to NATO, he added: “I think it’s entirely reasonable for people to ask: is everybody doing their bit? I’m proud to say the UK is. Behind the US, we’re the next largest contributor to the effort to support Ukraine.

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“And more broadly, when it comes to defense spending, we’re one of the few countries that invests two percent of our GDP in defense.

“I think it’s reasonable and right that we expect other countries in the NATO alliance to increase defense spending up to those levels. And that’s something that I speak to other leaders about as well.”

Did the summit produce any more weapons pledges?

It didn’t, but according to Bloomberg News, the White House is set to announce as early as Friday, a long-term arms package valued at more than $2 billion focusing on further strengthening Ukraine’s air defenses.

 Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes, the topic of who could take over the leadership of NATO when the current Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stands down in October came up. 

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace is among the contenders as the alliance prepares a summit in Vilnius next month and he has been an integral part of the UK’s continued support for Ukraine.

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“They have a candidate who's a very qualified individual,” Biden said of Wallace’s candidacy, responding “maybe” when asked if it was time for another British secretary-general of NATO.

But Biden said that NATO needed a “consensus.”

The prime ministers of Denmark and Estonia are also seen as contenders.

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