U.S. President Joe Biden has reassured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of U.S. commitment to supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as the former Soviet nation faces a buildup of Russian troops along its eastern border.
“President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement following the Sunday call with Zelensky.
Last month, Moscow demanded that Ukraine and other former Soviet countries not be accepted into NATO, while calling for NATO to roll back its military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.
The United States and its allies have refused to offer Russia any guarantees, citing NATO’s principle that membership is open to any qualifying country.
In the Sunday call, Both Biden and Zelensky expressed support for the diplomatic efforts for de-escalation that are scheduled for the week of Jan. 10 in Geneva. These will include the bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue between the United States and Russia, as well as the NATO-Russia Council, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council meeting.
Biden has promised Ukraine that the United States and its allies will abide by the principle “nothing about you without you” at the talks.
The U.S. president told his Russian counterpart again earlier this week that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine, while expressing support for the scheduled diplomatic exchanges as a path forward to de-escalate tensions in the region.
He had made a similar warning to Russia on Dec. 7, citing the possibility of severe sanctions against Russia if needed.
The White House said on Jan. 2 that Biden is in support of “active diplomacy to advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, in support of the Normandy Format.”