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12 Dec, 2022 07:42

Biden welcomes Zelensky's 'openness' to peace

While still promising more weapons, American leader's words may mark a shift in stance
Biden welcomes Zelensky's 'openness' to peace

US President Joe Biden has promised more military support for Ukraine, while also praising proposals for peace laid out by his counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky. He made the comments as the two leaders spoke by phone on Saturday. Moscow has called Zelensky’s roadmap unworkable.

“President Biden welcomed President Zelensky’s stated openness to a just peace based on fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” the White House said in a statement.

Biden also pledged to continue military and other aid to Kiev by “prioritizing efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense.” The promise came after the Pentagon unveiled its most recent aid package on Friday, which includes additional HIMARS rockets and 80,000 155mm artillery rounds, as well as “counter air defense capability.” 

Zelensky thanked Biden “for consistent support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, for leadership in consolidating international efforts to counter Russian aggression,” according to a statement by his office.

The statement added that Zelensky “emphasized that Ukraine wants to achieve peace” with Moscow. Kiev unveiled its ten-step “peace formula” last month, which calls for Russia to withdraw its troops and “confirm Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”

Moscow called these pre-conditions “unacceptable,” especially after four former Ukrainian territories became parts of Russia following referendums in late September, while Crimea did the same in 2014. Moscow also stressed that sending weapons to Ukraine will only lead to more bloodshed and accused Kiev of using Western-supplied rockets and heavy artillery to target civilians in Donbass.