Biden says likely to speak to Russian, Ukrainian leaders
US President Joe Biden said Friday he is likely to speak to the leaders of Russia or Ukraine in an attempt to defuse growing tension over a Russian military build-up.
“In all probability,” Biden answered when asked by reporters during a vacation on the island of Nantucket if he will be speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I am concerned,” he said, repeating his support for Ukraine’s “territorial integrity.”
Shortly before Biden spoke, the White House urged diplomatic efforts to “de-escalate” tensions on the Ukrainian border.
Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, talked with the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, spokeswoman Emily Horne said.
“They discussed their shared concerns about ongoing Russian military activities near Ukraine’s border and its harsh rhetoric towards Ukraine. They agreed that all sides should pursue diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions,” Horne said.
Sullivan “underscored the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said.
The call came as Zelensky accused Russia of sending “very dangerous” signals on the border and said a coup plot involving Russian citizens had been uncovered in Ukraine.
Moscow, which backs separatist territories in eastern Ukraine and seized the Crimea region, has dismissed all accusations, blaming Ukraine and Washington for raising tensions.