President Joe Biden on Friday expressed strong U.S. support for Ukraine in a call with the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the White House said.
“President Biden affirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbass and Crimea,” the statement said.
NATO said on Thursday it was concerned about a Russian military buildup near Ukraine’s borders, as NATO ambassadors met to discuss the recent spike in violence in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, drawing Western condemnation and tit-for-tat sanctions.
Biden emphasized his administration’s commitment to a strategic partnership with Ukraine and support for Zelenskiy’s anti-corruption plans and reform agenda.
“The leaders agreed these reforms are central to Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations,” the statement said.
Zelenskiy said on Twitter he was glad to speak with Biden and appreciates U.S. support on different levels.
“We stand shoulder to shoulder when it comes to preservation of our democracies. My commitment to transform Flag of Ukraine, improve transparency & achieve peace is strong. The American partnership is crucial for Ukrainians,” Zelenskiy said.
In November, Biden defeated then-President Donald Trump, who was impeached in 2019 over what White House aides described as an effort to withhold nearly $400 million in security aid and a coveted White House visit unless Ukrainian officials announced investigations Trump sought into Biden.
That exchange was at the center of a charge by the Democratic-led House of Representatives that Trump abused his power for political benefit. The U.S. Senate, then controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, acquitted him of the charge and another of obstructing justice. Trump denied any wrongdoing.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu in WashingtonEditing by Matthew Lewis and Howard Goller