Sunak speaks with Zelensky, offering unwavering support to Ukraine
Well, it’s official – Rishi Sunak is the prime minister of Britain following an audience with King Charles the third at Buckingham Palace.
But there’s no time for celebrations.
The new PM has gone straight to work, holding a phone call with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky.
Promising the UK will continue its unwavering support for the war-torn country.
Zelensky congratulated the newly-appointed leader as they begin to “write a new chapter in their countries’ relations”.
Sunak has also begun reshuffling his cabinet, as UK residents feel the pinch of what is a “profound economic crisis”.
Jeremy Hunt will stay on as chancellor, a position he acquired after Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget.
Suella Braverman will once again be home secretary just days after sensationally resigning from this very role.
Dominc Raab is deputy PM and justice secretary, while Michael Gove is levelling up secretary.
Grant Shapps is the new business secretary, with Sunak’s former leadership rival Penny Mordaunt staying on as leader of the House of Commons.
Mistakes have been made
Speaking outside his new home, 10 Downing Street, Sunak paid tribute to his predecessor, Liz Truss, while also acknowledging mistakes have been made.
“Our country is facing a profound economic crisis. The aftermath of COVID still lingers. Putin’s war in Ukraine has destabilised energy markets and supply chains the world over,” Sunak said.
“I will place economic stability and confidence at the heart of this government’s agenda. This will mean difficult decisions to come.
“I want to pay tribute to my predecessor Liz Truss. She was not wrong to want to improve growth in this country. It is a noble aim. And I admired her restlessness to create change.
“But some mistakes were made — not born of ill will, or bad intentions. Quite the opposite, in fact. But mistakes, nonetheless. And I have been elected as leader of my party and your prime minister, in part to fix them.”
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Former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan left behind by Biden administration during two separate prisoner exchanges with Kremlin
The United States government on Thursday completed a prisoner exchange with Russia after months of negotiations that resulted in the release of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for American women’s basketball athlete Brittney Griner.
The professional athlete was arrested in Russia in February 2022 after airport officials discovered cannabis oil in her vape cartridges.
Meanwhile, Bout is known as the ‘Merchant of Death’ and many critics say he is still a very dangerous man and was too great a prize to give Russia.
Additionally, former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan has been left behind by the Biden administration for a second time. Initially, the Biden administration was working to release both Griner and Whelan for the Bout who has served 11 years of a 25-year conviction.
But, the Kremlin ultimately handed the U.S. the choice of only Griner’s return or no deal at all.
In Russian custody for nearly four years, Whelan was convicted on charges of espionage and spying for the U.S. government. The 52-year-old was sentenced to 16 years in prison and remains imprisoned at a labor camp.
Both Whelan and the U.S. deny the charges.
U.S. President Joe Biden was asked about why Whelan was left behind. He said, “
Whelan’s brother told media outlets he is hopeful the Biden administration will also secure the release of his brother soon.