US To ‘Respond Decisively’ If Russia Invades Ukraine, Biden Tells Zelenskky

President Joe Biden has told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the U.S. and its allies will “respond decisively” if Russia further invades Ukraine, according to a White House statement on January 2.

Biden “reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in the statement, which came after the two leaders spoke by phone.

“The leaders expressed support for diplomatic efforts, starting next week with the bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue, at NATO through the NATO-Russia Council, and at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,” Psaki said.

“He also expressed support for confidence-building measures to de-escalate tensions in Donbas and active diplomacy to advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, in support of the Normandy Format,” Psaki said.

The first of the three high-level U.S. and Russian talks are set for January 9-10 in Geneva.

“The first international talk of the year with @POTUS proves the special nature of our relations,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. He said he and Biden discussed the joint actions of Ukraine, the United States, “and partners in keeping peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, deoligarchization.”

“We appreciate the unwavering support of Ukraine,” he added.

The call was the second in three weeks between the two leaders as the White House attempts to address a Russian troop buildup that has alarmed NATO, while authorities in Kyiv have expressed concerns that Russia could invade Ukraine in the coming weeks.

The call follows on the heels of talks between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 30, in which Biden said the United States and its allies would impose severe sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine.

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