As Ukraine faces a buildup of Russian troops along its eastern border, U.S. President Joe Biden assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of the United States' commitment to supporting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In a statement after the Sunday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that President Biden made clear the United States and its allies and partners would respond decisively if Russia continued to invade Ukraine.
Russian state media reports that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied reports that Russia could invade Ukrainian territory, saying it is looking to resolve issues along the southeastern border of Ukraine and in Donbass.
As recently as last month, Moscow demanded that Ukraine and other former Soviet nations be barred from joining NATO and asked the organization to reduce its military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.
The United States and NATO allies refused to provide any guarantees to Russia citing the principle that the alliance is open to any country that qualifies for membership.
Biden and Zelensky spoke on Sunday, and both expressed support for de-escalation efforts scheduled for Geneva during the week of Jan. 10. These will include a bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue between the United States and Russia, a NATO-Russia Council meeting, and a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.
Both Biden and Putin are aware that there may be areas where progress can be made as well as areas when agreements are unlikely, and the upcoming talks will define more clearly the contours of those categories, a senior Biden administration official said before Jan. 10.
3 Jan 2022