Biden reaffirms US support for Ukraine in appeal with Zelenskyy amid Russian fears
President Joe Biden spoke by telephone to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday, reaffirming US support for Ukraine as it faces growing Russian aggression, the White House said.
Russia has assembled around 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion as early as this month. Russia has repeatedly denied plans to attack its neighbor, but officials in the Biden administration have said they are prepared for the eventuality.
The call is the second the two leaders have held in recent weeks. Biden also urged Russian President Vladimir Putin last week to defuse tensions on the Ukrainian border.
Biden told Zelenskyy that the United States and its allies and partners will “respond decisively” if Russia invades, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
âBiden underscored the commitment of the United States and its allies and partners to the principle of ‘nothing about you without you’,â Psaki said. “He also expressed support for confidence-building measures to defuse tensions in the Donbass and active diplomacy to advance the implementation of the Minsk accords, in support of the Normandy format.”
Zelenskyy praised the “unwavering support” in a tweet.
Russia and the United States have engaged in high-stakes diplomatic talks on Ukraine in recent weeks.
Biden urged Putin to defuse tensions in a 50-minute phone call Thursday. Biden warned Putin that the United States could impose new sanctions if Russia takes military action against Ukraine. The call, the second between Biden and Putin last month, was requested by the Russians.
“We have made it clear to President Putin that if he takes further action and visits Ukraine, we will have severe sanctions. We will increase our presence in Europe with our NATO allies, and it will be a heavy toll. to pay for it, âBiden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware on New Years Eve.
Biden made similar remarks during a call with Putin in early December, when Biden said Moscow would face “serious consequences” if he moved to Ukraine.
Putin warned during the call that relations could be severed completely if Biden imposed sanctions, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov told reporters on Friday, according to Russian news agency TASS.
In a telephone interview with Zelenskyy on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed US support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the State Department spokesman said. Ned Price in a press release.
âThe two discussed efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and upcoming diplomatic engagements with Russia,â he said.
U.S. and Russian officials are expected to hold security talks in Geneva on January 10, in which Biden and Putin are not expected to participate. A meeting between Russia and NATO is scheduled for January 12.