CNN reported last week, citing an unnamed Ukrainian official, that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told President Joe Biden that he needs to “calm down the messaging” regarding the threat of Russian invasion. According to the report, Zelensky said the current messaging was causing panic.
Biden and Zelensky spoke over the phone on Thursday as tensions have continued rising between Ukraine and neighboring Russia, which is currently gathering thousands of troops at the border between the two countries.
The United States and NATO have also been involved in the conflict. But according to CNN, Zelensky told Biden in the call that Ukraine was not in agreement with the U.S. assessment, and that the urgency with which the U.S. was treating the situation was causing a panic that might later bring economic problems to Ukraine.
Zelensky further told Biden to “calm down the messaging,” which CNN said had been noted by the Ukrainian official. The official allegedly told CNN that the call “did not go well,” but the White House has said that claim was false and anonymous sources were “leaking falsehoods.”
The White House further disputed an allegation by Alexander Marquardt, CNN’s senior national security correspondent, who posted to Twitter on Thursday that Biden told Zelensky that Kyiv could be “sacked” by Russia.
The National Security Council spokeswoman, Emily Horne, tweeted in response: “This is not true. President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February. He has previously said this publicly & we have been warning about this for months. Reports of anything more or different than that are completely false.”
President Biden noted on Tuesday that the United States would sanction Putin if Russia decides to invade, but Moscow holds that it is preparing an offensive military move.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES