They called Putin a day after Biden had warned him that a full-scale invasion could be imminent.
WASHINGTON — On Sunday, President Joe Biden called Ukrainian President Volodymyrzelskyy to confirm that the U.S. would respond “swiftly” to any invasion by Russia.
According to White House descriptions of the conversation, “President Biden reiterated the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity” and “made it clear that the United States would react swiftly, decisively, along with its allies, to any further Russian aggression towards Ukraine.”
According to the White House, Biden and Zelenskyy “agreed on how important it is to continue to pursue diplomacy as well as deterrence in reaction to Russia’s military buildup at Ukraine’s borders.” Jan. 2 was the last time they spoke.
The call lasted approximately 50 minutes and was made one day after Biden had warned Vladimir Putin that a full-scale invasion in Ukraine could be imminent. According to the White House, the White House said the consequences would be swift and severe.
Zelenskyy stated in a tweet that he and Biden had discussed “security, economy and existing risks”, sanctions, and Russian aggression.
Joh Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, stated Sunday that there is not enough time to reach a diplomatic solution. “We are aware that the time component seems to be shrinking. That gives us all cause to be concerned,” he stated on Fox News Sunday, while acknowledging that the Biden administration believes in a “diplomatic way forward”.
In a conversation that lasted just over an hours, Biden informed Putin that the U.S., its allies, and partners would “respond decisively” to any actions taken by Moscow, according to the White House.
Biden stated that he was clear with President Putin about the fact that the United States is still ready to engage in diplomacy in full coordination and cooperation with our allies, but the White House also said that he was equally prepared for any other scenario.
The State Department directed the evacuation of all embassy staff in Kyiv, “due to the continuing threat of Russian military actions,” and the Pentagon ordered the departure of 160 members of Florida’s National Guard who had been assigned to train Ukrainian forces. Russia indicated that it was also moving personnel from its Kyiv embassy.
The U.S. Embassy will suspend consular services in Kyiv starting Sunday. However, a small consular presence will still be present in Lviv. Lviv, which is located in western Ukraine, about 50 miles from Poland’s border, is further away from possible Russian invasion routes.
Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Advisor, reiterated Sunday that an invasion threat is imminent and could occur this week prior to the Winter Olympics’ end on February 20.
“We believe Russia could choose the diplomatic route, but the manner they have built their forces and the way that they have managed things makes it a distinct possibility they will take major military action very soon,” Sullivan stated on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He added that the U.S. was “prepared to continue working on diplomacy, and that we are also ready to respond in a united, decisive way to our allies, and partners, should Russia proceed.”
Putin has repeatedly denied that he intends to invade, even though he is making bold security demands of NATO and the U.S.
Sullivan stated Friday that the U.S. didn’t believe Putin had made a final determination.