Biden, allies underscore support for Ukraine in video conference call

US President Joe Biden has sought to maintain unity in backing Ukraine. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - US President Joe Biden spoke with allies on Thursday to underscore continued support for Ukraine, including through security and economic assistance, the White House said, vowing to continue to hold Russia accountable for its invasion.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden and other leaders also discussed Russia’s weaponisation of energy and additional steps to secure sustainable and affordable energy supplies for Europe.

Mr Biden took part in the video session late on Thursday morning Washington time with several participants, including Group of Seven (G-7) leaders, as well as the leaders of Nato and the European Union, people familiar with the talks said, speaking on condition of anonymity before the discussion.

It wasn't immediately clear who else participated.

The video format was used in the early months of the war, and Mr Biden is reviving it with the approach the seven-month mark of the conflict, one of the people said.

Mr Biden has sought to maintain unity in backing Ukraine. His conversation with the other leaders comes in a week in which the UK has sworn in a new leader Liz Truss, who has positioned herself as a hawk in the confrontation with Russia.

The call will take place as Ukraine pursues an offensive against Russian forces and as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares to meet China President Xi Jinping for the first time since the war began in February.

That encounter will be on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit that runs from Sept 15-16 in Uzbekistan, Russia's ambassador to China Andrey Denisov said, according to a Tass report.

Both Mr Putin and Mr Xi also plan to attend the Group of 20 (G-20) summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali in November, according to Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wrote in Wednesday's Financial Times that the war is "entering a critical phase" and warned of a tough winter ahead for members of the military alliance that could include "energy cuts, disruptions and perhaps even civil unrest." REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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