President Joe Biden spoke with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Thursday to discuss their ongoing tensions with Russia.
According to a White House readout of the call, Biden said the United States and allies would respond if Russia further invaded Ukrainian territory and would continue to look for ways to assist the country.
Biden said that the evacuation of family members of American diplomatic personnel should not be seen as a sign that the United States was not committed to the safety and security of Ukraine.
Zelensky confirmed the call on social media, thanking Biden for the support.
Had a long phone conversation with @POTUS. Discussed recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future. Thanked President @JoeBiden for the ongoing military assistance. Possibilities for financial support to Ukraine were also discussed. pic.twitter.com/pAsQLYAuig
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) January 27, 2022
“Discussed recent diplomatic efforts on de-escalation and agreed on joint actions for the future,” he wrote, noting he thanked Biden for sending military assistance to Ukraine.
“Possibilities for financial support to Ukraine were also discussed,” he added.
Ukrainians were surprised by Biden’s comments that it was likely that Putin would invade their country.
“My guess is he will move in, he has to do something.” Biden said about Putin last week at a press conference, suggesting the U.S. and NATO might not respond as forcefully to a “minor incursion.”
The president’s comments were immediately clarified by the White House, but they raised questions about his commitment to blocking Russia from invading.
Biden and Zelensky have had a complicated relationship, as Biden ignored the Ukrainian’s pleas for the U.S. president to impose sanctions on Russia before Russian President Vladimir Putin invades.
Biden also lifted sanctions on Putin’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which Zelensky admitted made him “unpleasantly surprised.”
The pipeline would bypass Ukraine to provide energy to Europe, giving Putin more economic leverage.
In December, Biden also ignored Zelensky’s request for sanctions on Russia, responding to their increasing military pressure on the border.
“For us, it is important to have sanctions applied before, rather than after, the conflict would happen, because if they were applied after the conflict would happen, this would basically make them meaningless,” Zelensky said.