Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

The US president is making a commitment in a call with his Ukrainian counterpart as Russia’s troops build tensions.

US President Joe Biden on Sunday reassured his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that Washington and its allies would “react decisively” if Russia moved to invade its pro-Western neighbor, the White House said in a statement.

The two men were talking on the phone days after Biden received a second conversation in a month with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid tensions on Russia’s border with Ukraine, where Russia has rallied some 100,000 troops.

“President Biden has made it clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia invades Ukraine further,” White House spokesman Jen Psaki said in a statement following the call.

Biden and Zelenskyy discussed preparations for a series of upcoming diplomatic meetings to address the crisis, according to the White House.

Zelenskyy later tweeted that he appreciated the United States ‘”unwavering support” and that the call proved “the special nature” of the two countries’ relationship.

High-ranking US and Russian officials will sit in Geneva on January 9 and 10 to discuss the crisis. Russia-NATO consultations and a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will also take place.

US President Joe Biden has previously discussed Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia has gathered about 100,000 troops at the border [File: Adam Schultz/White House via Reuters]

Biden said he had told Putin it was important for the Russians to take steps to alleviate the crisis before those meetings.

Biden discussed the call with Putin on Friday, saying: “I am not going to negotiate here in public, but we have made it clear that he will not – I will emphasize – invade Ukraine.”

The US leader added, in comments to reporters during a holiday stay in Delaware, that he “made it clear to President Putin that we will have severe sanctions, we will increase our presence in Europe, with NATO allies” as Russia Ukraine invasion.

Putin’s foreign policy adviser told reporters last week that Putin had warned Biden that the pursuit of sanctions “could lead to a total breach of relations between the two countries and Russia-West relations would be severely damaged”.

Russia seized the Crimean region of Ukraine in 2014 and is accused of pro-Russian separatist war in the east of the country, which broke out the same year.

Kremlin officials have stressed that they want guarantees that any future enlargement of NATO should exclude Ukraine and other former Soviet countries, and also demanded that the military alliance remove offensive weapons from countries in the region.

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