Zelensky explains Ukraine’s concerns to Biden
US President Joe Biden has received a report on the recent talks with Russia in Paris from his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky. The two leaders agreed on joint action and discussed further US military and financial support for Ukraine, according to Kiev.
The White House told reporters on Thursday that the call was scheduled for 2pm American Eastern time.
Shortly before 4pm, Zelensky tweeted about a “long” conversation with Biden, saying they discussed “recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future.” Zelensky thanked Biden for “the ongoing military assistance” and also discussed “possibilities for financial support to Ukraine.”
Ahead of the call, CNN reported that Zelensky was going to ask the US to be “more cautious in its messaging surrounding a potential Russian attack,” as Kiev is facing panic and negative economic consequences. Ukraine’s dollar bonds had their best day in almost two years on Thursday, following the news that the Normandy Format talks with Russia in Paris were somewhat successful.
The White House readout, released after 5pm, said that Biden “reaffirmed the readiness of the US along with its allies and partners to respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” and that the US Embassy in Kiev “remains open and fully operational” despite the departure of family members of diplomats.
Biden also expressed support for the Normandy Format talks, “expressing his hope that the sides’ recommitment on January 26 to the terms of the July 2020 ceasefire will help decrease tensions and advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”
The talks, hosted by France on Wednesday, ended with envoys for Moscow and Kiev agreeing to “support unconditional respect for the cease-fire and full adherence to the cease-fire strengthening measures” from 2020 “regardless of differences on other issues relating to the implementation of the Minsk agreements,” according to the Élysée Palace. The diplomats also agreed to meet in Berlin in two weeks’ time.
US media has claimed since late October that Russia was about to invade Ukraine, citing an assessment by American intelligence. Russia has dismissed the accusation as “fake news.”
When US, UK, and Canadian embassies in Kiev began evacuating some staff on Monday, Ukrainian officials – starting with Zelensky himself – started downplaying the threat of the alleged invasion, saying they were seeing no sign of it in the near future.