On Sunday, President Joe Biden met with Ukraine’s leader regarding the buildup of Russian troops near the countries’ border.
During that meeting, Biden promised that the U.S. and allies would act “decisively” if Russia further acts against its Eastern European neighbor.
The call between Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy came as the U.S. and other Western allies prepared for several diplomatic meetings aimed at de-escalating a crisis at the Ukrainian-Russian border, which Moscow said could sever ties with Washington.
Following the call, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement, “President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine.”
She added that Biden emphasized his dedication to the idea of “nothing about you without you,” which means policy that impacts Europe will not be negotiated without the input of allies.
Biden has said previously that Russia could be hit with stiff economic sanctions if it makes a play for Ukraine’s territory, but he said last month that U.S. military action is not at all an option.
The Kremlin has demanded that the expansion of NATO must exclude Ukraine and other countries that were formerly associated with the Soviet Union. Russians have also demanded that offensive weaponry of the military alliance be removed from countries in the surrounding region.
The White House dismissed Russia’s demand to exclude Ukraine from NATO because NATO alliance membership is open to any country that meets the qualifications. Although there is little potential that Ukraine would be invited to join anytime in the near future, the U.S. and its allies will not rule out the possibility.
“We appreciate the unwavering support,” Zelenskyy said in a post to Twitter after Sunday’s call. Biden spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for almost an hour on Thursday after which he told reporters the following day that the Russian economy would pay a “heavy price” if Russia made more moves against Ukraine. Russia has already gathered around 100,000 troops near the border.
Biden said on Friday, “I’m not going to negotiate here in public, but we made it clear that he cannot – I emphasize cannot – move on Ukraine.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS
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