President Joe Biden reiterated American support for Ukraine during a Sunday phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while still pursuing a diplomatic solution as the U.S. raises alarms on a Russian invasion of Ukraine coming as soon as this week.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at … [+] the White House on September 01, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Biden told Zelensky the U.S. would react “swiftly and decisively” to any further Russian military action in Ukraine, according to the White House, reiterating he stands by Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” further rejecting Russia’s demand that Ukraine be blocked from joining NATO.
The two discussed the “importance of continuing to pursue diplomacy and deterrence” even in the face of further Russian military buildup at the Ukraine border, the White House said.
Biden’s conversation with Zelensky comes a day after he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, telling Putin the U.S. still seeks a diplomatic path but is “equally prepared for other scenarios.”
The call lasted about 50 minutes, according to the Associated Press.
Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security advisor, said Sunday a Russian attack could happen “this week,” warning of the potential of civilian casualties. With more than 100,000 Russian troops at the Ukraine border, the U.S. ordered most of its embassy personnel in Kyiv to evacuate Friday and pulled out U.S. troops stationed in Ukraine. Biden told Putin Saturday an invasion of Ukraine would carry “swift and severe costs” for Russia and “widespread human suffering.” The U.S. has sent 5,000 troops to NATO member countries near Ukraine in recent weeks, though Biden said last month the U.S. has “no intention” to deploy troops in Ukraine.
Biden and Zelensky’s last phone call “did not go well,” an anonymous senior Ukrainian official told CNN shortly after the January 27 conversation. Zelensky said following the call the U.S. and other countries’ warnings of invasion caused undue “panic,” leading the White House to say they would no longer call an attack “imminent.”
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White House Walks Back Warning Of ‘Imminent’ Russian Invasion Of Ukraine (Forbes)
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