Joe Biden personally reaffirms his support for Ukraine in the face of risk of Russian attack

Two days after a virtual summit with Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden set out, Thursday, December 9, to reassure the Ukrainian president as well as the allies of the United States in Eastern Europe in the face of the threat of a Russian military offensive against Ukraine.

The American president reiterated to Volodymyr Zelensky his “Unwavering commitment” towards the “Sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” in a conversation that lasted about an hour and a half, according to a White House statement.

A senior American official also assured, during a press conference call, that the American president had not done “No concessions” to its Russian counterpart. He was reacting to press reports that Washington was pressuring Kiev to cede at least part of the control of some territories in eastern Ukraine occupied by pro-Russian separatists. “No nation can force another to change its border”, said this source.

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“Firm support”

Joe Biden also mentioned in his appeal to Volodymyr Zelensky his support for the Minsk agreements of 2015, now deadlocked, which were to end the deadly conflict ravaging eastern Ukraine. The US president is, according to the White House, ready to support “Measures to encourage confidence” in this political process.

Joe Biden, in another conversation with nine NATO Eastern European countries, promised them to “Pursue close consultation and coordination” and affirmed the “Need for a united position” within the military alliance.

The Ukrainian President greeted him on “Strong support” brought, according to him, by Joe Biden to his country. During their call, MM. Biden and Zelensky have notably “Discussed possible formats for conflict resolution in Donbass”, a region in eastern Ukraine, the scene of bloody clashes since 2014, said the Ukrainian head of state.

The West has accused Russia for more than a month of massing tens of thousands of soldiers near the Ukrainian border. The Kremlin ensures that it responds to « provocations ». Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin spoke for two hours on Tuesday, failing to ease tensions altogether, although the two camps had mentioned useful discussions.

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“If indeed [Poutine] invades Ukraine “, there will be “Economic consequences as he has never seen”, said Wednesday, Mr. Biden, however dismissing the sending of American troops, Kiev not being a member of NATO. But the tenant of the White House said that a Russian attack on Kiev would lead to a strengthening of the US military presence in the territories of NATO members in Eastern Europe. He also mentioned the sending of “Means of defense” in Kiev, which will already receive “Small arms and ammunition” sent this week as part of an American support plan.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during his telephone conversation with Joe Biden, December 9, 2021, in Kiev.

A “lie”, according to Moscow

Tensions with Moscow are raising the specter of a deadly outbreak in Ukraine, a poor country in Eastern Europe torn for seven years by a war between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists. This conflict has left more than 13,000 dead. Russia denies any belligerent inclination towards its neighbor, from which it annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, but categorically opposes the accession of this former Soviet republic to NATO.

Vladimir Putin argued on Thursday that the Russian-speaking populations in the Donbass suffered from « russophobie », a “First step towards genocide”. The day before, he had claimed that Moscow had “The right to protect one’s security”. For his part, the head of the Russian military staff, General Valeri Guerassimov, swept Thursday as a ” lie “ the Ukrainian invasion plan loaned to Moscow.

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For now, the West is maintaining diplomatic pressure on Moscow. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and European Council President Charles Michel agreed during an interview, “The need to impose rapid and severe sanctions” if the military escalation intensified.

Macron will meet with Putin

The new German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, for his part, threatened Moscow with ” consequences “ for the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to deliver Russian gas to Germany. On Wednesday, France for its part warned Moscow to “Strategic and massive consequences” in the event of an attack on Ukraine.

Paris and Berlin also intend to continue their mediation in the Ukrainian crisis and will have further exchanges in this direction with Russia, which is now shunned this format of discussions, as well as with Ukraine.

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“This work must continue”, hammered French President Emmanuel Macron during a press conference, alluding to the so-called “Normandy” format which brings together the four countries in the search for a solution to the crisis.

“In recent years, it has made it possible to avoid the deterioration [de la situation] and it also allowed us to have real results ”, he added. The French president said he himself would meet his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on December 15 and speak on the phone with Vladimir Putin ” next week “.

Russia is suspected of militarily supporting pro-Russian separatists to Ukrainian authorities in eastern Ukraine, which Mosou denies.

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The World with AFP

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Joe Biden personally reaffirms his support for Ukraine in the face of risk of Russian attack