Russian military troops continue to amass along Ukraine’s eastern border. US President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the US would act “decisively” to defend Ukraine if Russia mounts a further invasion of the country’s borders. Biden called Zelensky on Sunday before a series of planned diplomatic meetings between the US and Russia.
US diplomats hope to de-escalate the situation on Ukraine’s eastern border. Russia’s buildup of troops near the former Soviet country is part of President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing attempts to exclude Ukraine from future NATO expansion.
“President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained in a press release.
“Biden underscored the commitment of the United States and its allies and partners to the principle of ‘nothing about you without you,'” Psaki continued. “He also expressed support for confidence-building measures to de-escalate tensions in Donbas and active diplomacy to advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, in support of the Normandy Format.”
The US and Ukraine are diplomatic allies, but President Biden has stated that military action is not an option in the Ukraine crisis. Biden told Putin during a phone call in December that further aggression against Ukraine would result in sanctions. Putin responded that Russia would discontinue diplomatic relations with the US if the American government leveraged sanctions against them.
Zelensky tweeted his appreciation for the US’s support on Sunday. “The first international talk of the year with [President Biden] proves the special nature of our relations. Joint actions of [Ukraine and the US] and partners in keeping peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, deoligarchization [sic] were discussed. We appreciate the unwavering support […]”
Russia has demanded NATO exclude Ukraine from any further expansion of the alliance. The country has also called on NATO to remove weaponry from former Soviet countries, stating that leaving them in place is an act of aggression. Russia has repeatedly denied holding plans to invade Ukraine, despite posting roughly 100,000 troops along its neighbor’s border.
US and Russian diplomats will meet in Geneva on January 10. Diplomats hope to resolve the situation along Ukraine’s border peacefully. NATO will meet with Russian officials on January 12 to further discuss Moscow’s demands regarding the military alliance’s European activity.