In a phone conversation, US President Joe Biden promised his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to provide support in the event of Russia’s invasion of the country. Biden said he would act “firmly” in this case. White House spokesman Jen Psaki said:
Ukrainian President Zelensky said on Twitter that the conversation with Biden showed the “special nature” of the relationship between the two countries. According to Zelensky, he and Biden discussed measures that Ukraine, the United States and its partners are taking “to preserve peace in Europe so that there is no further escalation.” They also discussed reforms. “We appreciate Ukraine’s continued support,” the president said.
The White House statement said the US president “expressed support for confidence-building measures to de-escalate tensions in the Donbass and for active diplomacy to accelerate implementation of the Minsk Accords.” Under those agreements, brokered by France and Germany, Ukraine pledged to implement political reforms and Russia pledged to end its support for pro-Russian separatist rebels.
The statement said that President Biden finally affirmed the commitment of the United States and its allies to the principle of “nothing about you without you.”
Both Biden and Zelensky in the conversation indicated support for diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation. The relationship between Russia on the one hand and Ukraine and the West on the other is under pressure. Russia has deployed tens of thousands of troops to the border with Ukraine, a NATO partner country. The West fears a possible military intervention by Moscow against Kiev.
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Strategic Security Dialogue
A meeting is scheduled for January 10 between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Swiss city of Geneva. This is a meeting in the context of the Strategic Security Dialogue agreed upon by President Biden and President Putin at their summit last June, which is mainly aimed at controlling their nuclear weapons. But the situation in Ukraine will also be discussed. This will be followed by the NATO-Russia Council on January 12 and a meeting within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on January 13. For years, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitored a ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government army in Ukraine.
On Thursday evening, Biden did indeed have a 50-minute phone conversation with Russian President Putin in which he again warned that an invasion of Ukraine would not be without consequences. Putin, in turn, is said to have stressed that severe sanctions would lead to a split with the West. The Russian head of state then said he was “satisfied” with the conversation. “The discussion was frank and concrete,” a Kremlin spokesman said.
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