President Biden met with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday at the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, where the two leaders recommitted their support for Ukraine.
The White House said the leaders “discussed Russia’s barbaric missile strikes in Ukraine and underscored their governments’ strong support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression.”
“They also discussed the explosion that took place in the eastern part of Poland and our full support for Poland’s ongoing investigation,” it said.
Their meeting came hours after a missile struck a grain silo in a village in Poland about 15 miles from the Ukraine border. Polish authorities said the missile was Russian-made, while Russia’s defense ministry has denied firing any missiles near the Ukraine-Poland border
Biden vowed in the meeting to support Ukraine for as long as needed.
“It’s merciless. And it’s … way over the top what they’re doing,” Biden said in the meeting, referring to the Russian assault. “And at a moment when world leaders here in Bali are seeking to make progress on global peace, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is striking civilian targets and children and women. I mean, it’s just … in my words, not yours, barbaric, what he’s doing.”
“I’m glad we’re on the same page in terms of supporting Ukraine,” Biden added, speaking to Sunak.
Biden and Sunak also coordinated on a range of global issues, “including the challenges posed by China,” according to the White House.
“They discussed the global need to step up ambitions to tackle the climate crisis, as well as the importance of securing sustainable and affordable energy supplies,” the White House said, adding that they “also affirmed their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.”
Biden kicked off the meeting on Wednesday by calling the United Kingdom the “closest ally and closest friend” to the U.S.
Biden, 79, is America’s oldest president and Sunak, 42, is Britain’s youngest prime minister in 200 years, reporters traveling with the president noted.
Sunak called the U.S. the closest ally of the U.K., as well as biggest trading partner and closest security partner.
Biden and Sunak spoke on the phone hours after the prime minister officially took over last month. The two leaders focused their conversation on policy toward Ukraine and China and discussed the importance of protecting the Good Friday Agreement, which ended the Northern Ireland conflict.
Biden called the U.K.’s selection of Sunak “a groundbreaking milestone” during a reception to celebrate Diwali last month. Sunak became the country’s first leader of color and the first Hindu to serve in the role.
Sunak’s rise to prime minister came amid political turmoil in the U.K. after former Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation after 45 days in office. He won leadership of the Conservative Party to serve as the country’s third prime minister this year.