LONDON — President Biden met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain on Monday, making a brief stop in London on the eve of a NATO summit where leaders are expected to focus on supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion.
Mr. Biden arrived at 10 Downing Street on Monday morning, his first visit to the prime minister’s office as president, and was greeted with a warm handshake by Mr. Sunak.
“We’re very privileged and fortunate to have you here,” Mr. Sunak said.
“It’s good to be back,” Mr. Biden said. Mr. Biden and Mr. Sunak have met six times in the last six months, but never at 10 Downing Street. The two men met for more than 45 minutes in the building’s courtyard. “We’re moving along in a way that’s positive. But our relationship is rock solid.”
Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters on Air Force One on Sunday that the two leaders would “talk about progress in the war in Ukraine, and, of course, to talk about a range of other issues from China to climate to technology to artificial intelligence.”
Both men are scheduled to attend a two-day summit of NATO leaders beginning on Tuesday in Vilnius, Lithuania. The United States and Britain are among Ukraine’s most stalwart supporters, but the two leaders have differed on the question of whether and how quickly Ukraine should be able to join NATO.
Mr. Sunak said last month that Ukraine’s “rightful place is in NATO,” although he has not called for Ukraine to be given a “road map” to membership in the trans-Atlantic military alliance.
Mr. Biden has been more hesitant, and on Sunday he offered his most definitive statement to date that Ukraine was not ready for membership, saying it was “premature” to begin the process to allow Ukraine to join the alliance in the middle of a war.
The meeting also comes after Mr. Biden made what he called the “very difficult decision” to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, a move at odds with several of America’s closest allies. Britain was one of the nations that signed onto a convention prohibiting the sale or use of such weapons, which are