President Joe Biden will hold his first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday as Russia reportedly builds up its military presence in Eastern Ukraine, Politico reported Friday.
Relations between the U.S. and Ukraine have been frosty in recent years as both recent U.S. administrations faced accusations of untoward dealings with or in the former Soviet nation. Biden had sought to push off talks with Zelensky for as long as possible, according to Politico.
At least three other diplomatic conversations with the nations took place since Monday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin all spoke with their Ukrainian counterparts, as well as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
Ukraine has been a sore topic for Biden since his son, Hunter Biden, faced accusations of using his family name to gain business dealings in the country. Biden himself was accused of profiting from his son’s dealings. (RELATED: Here Are All The Times Joe Biden Allegedly Talked With Hunter About His Foreign Business Dealings)
Former President Donald Trump also had a cold relationship with Zelensky after being impeached for his phone call with the Ukrainian president in 2019. The Democratic-held House’s impeachment charges accused Trump of withholding aid to Ukraine in exchange for political favors, including investigating the Biden family’s dealings.
Biden held several top-level calls with global leaders since taking office, including one with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Biden’s administration has vowed stringent punishments for Russia’s involvement in recent hacking attacks against the U.S.
Biden also called Putin a “killer” with “no soul” in a recent interview.
President Biden tells @GStephanopoulos that he once looked Russian President Putin in the eye and told him “I don’t think you have a soul” to which Putin responded “we understand each other.” pic.twitter.com/a3zIQ0uLcq
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 17, 2021