Biden Promises Ukraine Decisive Action If Russia Invades ‘Further’

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a phone call Sunday that the U.S. and allies plan to “respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine.”

Biden’s latest phone call with Zelensky followed a Thursday discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin. No major news or breakthroughs appeared to come from either phone call, though Biden continued to press Putin against invading Ukraine.

“President Biden made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Sunday evening following the phone call with Zelensky. “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.”

Ukraine has accused Russia of sending tanks and more sniper teams as provocation in Donbas, a pro-Russian conflict area of Ukraine.

“President Biden underscored the commitment of the United States and its allies and partners to the principle of ‘nothing about you without you,'” Psaki added, echoing a White House statement from earlier in December. “He reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. 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.”

During the president’s Thursday call with Putin, Biden again “made clear that the United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,” Psaki said in a separate statement regarding that call.

Zelensky touted “the first international talk of the year” as proof of “the special nature of” relations between Ukraine and the U.S. He thanked the U.S. for its “unwavering support of” Ukraine and said they discussed “keeping peace in Europe, preventing further escalation, reforms, [and] deoligarchization.”

Economic sanctions remain the focus for Biden regarding Russia, and he shot down the idea of sending U.S. troops to Ukraine to help earlier in December. He told reporters at the time that this is “not on the table.” (RELATED: Biden, Putin Touch On Number Of Topics, Declare Meeting ‘Constructive’ Despite Wide Range Of Issues Remaining)

“President Biden voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine and made clear that the U.S. and our Allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation,” the White House said in early December after Biden spoke with Putin. “President Biden reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy.”