Biden affirms his support for Ukraine against "Russian aggression"

WASHINGTON – President Biden assured the President of Ukraine on Wednesday that the United States remains opposed to “Russian aggression...


WASHINGTON – President Biden assured the President of Ukraine on Wednesday that the United States remains opposed to “Russian aggression” in the region, using an Oval Office meeting to assert his support for a leader angered by the chaotic exit of the United States of Afghanistan.

The meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also allowed Biden to send a message to Russia that he was determined to stand alongside a strategic partner that Moscow has invaded.

“The partnership between our nations is growing stronger and will become even stronger,” Biden said, noting that the two countries had a “similar value system” which included a commitment to a “whole, free and in peace”. “

Despite a delay of a few days, due in part to the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, Zelensky finally secured the reception of the Oval Office he had been seeking since his election in 2019. His previous efforts to secure such a meeting with the President Donald J. Trump led Mr. Zelensky to unwittingly become entangled in an international incident that led to Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.

Zelensky, for his part, thanked the United States for a new $ 60 million defense assistance package and said he wanted to focus on security issues, including the Russian occupation of Crimea.

Speaking through a translator, he expressed his condolences to the 13 US servicemen killed last week in Afghanistan. “We are very compassionate because we have suffered such tragic losses for eight consecutive years,” Zelensky said, referring to those killed in action in eastern Ukraine against Russian-backed separatists.

During the meeting, Mr. Biden also told Mr. Zelensky that he wanted to visit Ukraine, which no US president has visited since President George W. Bush in 2008. Mr. Biden visited regularly visited Ukraine as a vice-president.

Support demonstration may be required. Ukrainians were disheartened when they saw the brutal and unruly US exit from Afghanistan. “Their concern is that the commitments, understandings and trust they have in and with the United States could be compromised by this,” said William B. Taylor Jr., who served as United States Ambassador to Ukraine. between 2006 and 2009, and who was a star witness in Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.

“They almost desperately want to believe that the long-standing support for Ukraine, on administrations of all kinds, will persist,” he said. “But they can’t help but be concerned when they see the United States swiftly and with some dismay withdraw from a country we have been in for 20 years.”

Mr Biden’s goal ahead of the meeting was to demonstrate a clear commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, officials said. The decision to allow Mr Zelensky to be only the second European leader to visit the White House since Mr Biden’s inauguration sent a strong signal that Ukraine remains a priority for the administration.

Supporting Ukraine is essential for an administration that has made strengthening democratic standards at home and abroad a key objective, foreign policy experts said.

Mr Biden also signed a new $ 60 million aid package with Ukraine that included Javelin anti-armor missiles and other lethal weapons, an official said, and announced new security deals. , energy and climate coordination after bilateral meetings with the visiting Ukrainian delegation. .

The Biden administration has now provided more than $ 400 million in security assistance to Ukraine this year, an official said.

The Trump administration also supplied Ukraine with lethal weapons, overturning a decision not to do so by the Obama administration when Mr. Biden was vice president. Former President Barack Obama has limited US aid to Ukraine to “non-lethal” items like bulletproof vests, night vision goggles and first aid kits, to avoid tempting Russian President Vladimir V. Putin to raise the ante.

The Biden administration was also expected to sign a revised strategic defense framework to strengthen cooperation on security, cybersecurity and intelligence-sharing, paving the way for closer cooperation that will enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian military, said officials.

Overall, however, Mr Biden’s record on Ukraine is mixed, according to experts. The administration abandoned its efforts earlier this year to block the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will transport natural gas directly from Russia to Germany, allowing Russia to bypass Ukraine and deprive it of revenue from transit charges.

In a joint statement released after the meeting, the two countries said they “continue to oppose Nord Stream 2, which we see as a threat to European energy security”.

The Biden administration has yet to announce a candidate for ambassador to Ukraine, a post that has remained vacant since 2019, when Marie L. Yovanovitch was ousted from her post for apparent disloyalty to Mr. Trump.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden affirms his support for Ukraine against "Russian aggression"
Biden affirms his support for Ukraine against "Russian aggression"
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