After Johnson resignation, Biden says US-UK 'special relationship' remains 'strong'

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(WASHINGTON) — In a new statement following the resignation of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Joe Biden on Thursday stressed “the special relationship” between the U.S. and U.K. “remains strong and enduring.”

Biden did not mention Johnson by name or his resignation explicitly, but underscored that the U.S. will continue to work with the U.K. government on critical issues, including the war in Ukraine — an issue Biden and Johnson have worked closely on together.

“The United Kingdom and the United States are the closest of friends and Allies, and the special relationship between our people remains strong and enduring,” Biden said in the statement. “I look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the government of the United Kingdom, as well as our Allies and partners around the world, on a range of important priorities. That includes maintaining a strong and united approach to supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Putin’s brutal war on their democracy, and holding Russia accountable for its actions

Nevertheless, Johnson’s resignation could complicate Biden’s goal to strengthen the Western alliance in the face of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

The two spoke on the issue during a call in April, and “affirmed their commitment to continue providing security and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the face of ongoing atrocities by Russia,” according to a White House readout of the conversation.

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The two leaders then met in June at a summit of G-7 countries, where they both urged nations to remain united against Russia amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The conflict, entering its fifth month, has roiled global energy markets.

In his remarks Thursday announcing his resignation, Johnson cited Britain’s support of Ukraine as a top achievement.

“I’m immensely proud of the achievements of this government, from getting Brexit done to settling our relations with the continent for over half a century … and, in the last few months, leading the West in standing up to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s aggression in Ukraine,” he said.

“And let me say now, to the people of Ukraine, that I know that we in the U.K. will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes,” he added.

The White House on Wednesday declined to comment on the political drama surrounding Johnson, but press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the United States’ “partnership with the United Kingdom continued to be strong.”

ABC News’ Alexandra Hutzler contributed to this report.

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