Biden, Zelenskyy talk by phone as Ukrainian leader rallies West

Biden, Zelenskyy talk by phone as Ukrainian leader rallies West

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke for more than 30 minutes Tuesday as the leader in Kyiv pleaded with the West to help him repel Russian invaders.

“Just had a conversation with @POTUS. The American leadership on anti-Russian sanctions and defense assistance to Ukraine was discussed. We must stop the aggressor as soon as possible. Thank you for your support!” Mr. Zelenskyy tweeted.

The White House said the call lasted more than 30 minutes. 

“President Biden underscored the United States’ sustained help for Ukraine, including ongoing deliveries of security assistance, economic support, and humanitarian aid,” the White House said in a readout of the call. “The leaders discussed how the United States, along with allies and partners, is working to hold Russia accountable, including by imposing sanctions that are already having an impact on the Russian economy.  The leaders discussed Russia’s escalation of attacks on sites used by civilians in Ukraine, including today’s bombing near Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial.”

Mr. Biden has ruled out providing ground troops to Ukraine but joined western allies in imposing crippling sanctions on Moscow, hoping the economic squeeze will make Russian President Vladimir Putin rethink an invasion that is featuring bombardments in key cities and killing civilians.

Also Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke individually to five leaders on NATO’s eastern flank: Prime Minister Kaja Kallas of Estonia; Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins of Latvia; Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte of Lithuania; Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland; and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca of Romania.

They discussed the response in Ukraine, including the outflow and resettlement of refugees from the war.

“The vice president and the European leaders reviewed recent and upcoming U.S. and NATO force posture adjustments in Europe, including the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops and critical capabilities to reinforce our deterrence posture and collective defense. In each call, the vice president reaffirmed our ironclad commitment to NATO’s Article 5,” the White House said.

Article 5 is the mutual defense clause in which every NATO country agrees to protect each other and treat an armed attack on one as an attack on all.