Biden assures Ukraine US ‘will respond vigorously’ to Russian invasion

US President Joe Biden assured his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in a phone call Sunday that the United States and its allies “will respond vigorously” if Russia invades Ukraine.

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

Mr Biden also underscored Washington’s commitment “to the principle of ‘nothing about you without you'”, apparently referring to the need to include Ukraine in negotiations over its own future.

“We appreciate the unwavering support for Ukraine [de la part des USA] », Reacted Mr. Zelensky on Twitter. “We spoke of the joint actions of Ukraine, the United States and its partners to maintain peace in Europe and prevent the situation from worsening.”

On January 9 and 10, Russia and the United States will have talks on Ukraine in Geneva. Led by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and her Russian counterpart Sergei Riabkov, they will be followed on January 12 by a Russia-NATO meeting, then on January 13 by a meeting within the framework of the OSCE.

Last Friday, Joe Biden had already assured to have again warned the Russian president against an attempted invasion of Ukraine during a telephone interview the day before: “I clearly said to President Putin that we would adopt sanctions. severe and that we would increase our presence in Europe, among our NATO allies ”.

“We have been clear: he cannot, I repeat, he cannot invade Ukraine,” Biden insisted.

It was the second telephone conversation between the two heads of state in three weeks, due to tensions around pro-Western Ukraine, with the mobilization of Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.

“Severe penalties”

This Sunday, the American leader also “expressed his support for confidence-building measures to defuse tensions in the Donbass and active diplomacy to advance the implementation of the Minsk agreements”, according to Jen Psaki. Under these agreements, concluded under the aegis of France and Germany, Ukraine has agreed to carry out political reforms and Russia to end its support for pro-Russian separatist rebels.

Washington and its European allies accuse Moscow of threatening Ukraine with a new invasion, after that of Crimea in 2014, and of fomenting a pro-Russian separatist war that broke out that same year in the east. Some 100,000 Russian soldiers are massed near the country’s border.

For Moscow, Russia’s security requires the prohibition of any NATO enlargement, seen as an existential threat, and the end of Western military activities near Russian borders, an area it considers to fall within its area. influence.

According to the Kremlin, Mr. Putin said he was “satisfied” with Thursday’s exchange of about fifty minutes, while affirming that new sanctions against Moscow will constitute “a colossal error”.

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