In call with Zelensky, Biden emphasizes US support for war-torn Ukraine

Call comes with Russia targeting the pro-Western country’s power grid as winter sets in, and after the Ukrainian president emphasized his country ‘wants to achieve peace’

Illustrative: US President Joe Biden (right) meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 1, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Illustrative: US President Joe Biden (right) meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 1, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, reiterating Washington’s strong support for the war-torn country and welcoming his counterpart’s “openness to a just peace,” the White House said.

The call came as Russia, which invaded Ukraine on February 24, has been targeting the pro-Western country’s infrastructure, causing widespread energy cuts and leaving millions without power as temperatures drop.

Speaking to Zelensky, Biden underscored “ongoing US support for Ukraine’s defense as Russia continues its assaults on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure,” a White House statement said.

Western-supplied weapons, including from the United States, have supported Ukraine’s defense that has driven back Russian forces

The statement highlighted recent US pledges to Ukraine, including $53 million for Ukraine’s energy infrastructure announced in November and a December package of $275 million in ammunition and equipment.

In a tweet, Zelensky said he thanked Biden for the recent security package in a “fruitful conversation,” adding they “discussed further defense cooperation, protection and maintenance of our energy sector.”

US Air Force Staff Sgt. Cody Brown, right, with the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, checks pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine, April 29, 2022, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The Ukrainian presidency said Zelensky had “emphasized that Ukraine wants to achieve peace and drew attention to the importance of consolidating international efforts to reach this goal.”

Biden welcomed Zelensky’s “stated openness to a just peace based on fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” the White House statement said.

Biden’s administration said this month that the West was not pushing Ukraine to enter talks with Russia, and that it was up to Zelensky to determine how and when to pursue negotiations.

Most Popular
read more: