‘Made very clear’: Biden and Zelensky talked Ukraine crisis over by phone

13:30, 10 December 2021
‘Made very clear’: Biden and Zelensky talked Ukraine crisis over by phone Photo: Doug Mills/Consolidated News Photos/Global Look Press

The American President Joe Biden held telephone negotiations with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky on Tuesday. Two leaders discussed the Minsk protocol and the alleged Russian threat. 

The negotiations lasted an hour and a half followed by a 40-minute call from Biden to the leaders of nine NATO allies.

"I know there’s been lots of churn in the press about whether or not there were concessions [to Russia discussed on the calls]. There very clearly were not," a senior Biden administration official told the reporters afterward.

The official also said that Biden waited two days to call Zelensky because “the President obviously has a lot of other things on his agenda, including domestic issues, domestic travel and the rest.”

According to the White House, Biden was planning to inform Zelensky about the results of negotiations with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"There was an initial touch made by Secretary Blinken, I believe, on Monday, with Zelensky to set the stage for the President’s phone call.  And it was very important to President Biden that he call and follow up with Zelensky personally after that call," the White House said in a statement following the negotiations.

"The call today with President Zelensky was very warm. It lasted around 90 minutes. The main purpose of the call was an opportunity for President Biden to give President Zelensky a readout of his phone conversation with President Putin," the White House’s official informed.

The American President assured his Ukrainian counterpart making it "very clear a continued US commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity." 

"The President made very clear that there was this other path separate from the military path — similar to what he said to Zelensky — that there was also the path of de-escalation and diplomacy," the official added. 

During the conversation, Zelensky paid special attention to the problem of Ukraine's energy security. He said that the Ukrainian side is considering the Nord Stream 2 project exclusively through the prism of energy and security guarantees, and its progress "deprives Ukraine of an important factor in containing Russian aggression."

The Nord Stream 2 project has been under long and controversial discussions as Western countries including Poland, Ukraine and mainly the US have said that the project will allegedly help Moscow to gain political leverage in Europe.

The Russian Federation held a strong position stating that Nord Stream 2 is only an economic venture with no politicized intentions.

On December 7 Putin and Joe Biden discussedthe situation at Russia’s border with Ukraine where both countries are reinforcing their military might. The American leader said that in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies will take "strong economic and other measures." Biden also reaffirmed the United States' unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Biden and Putin also agreed that "our teams are going to follow up on the issues that were discussed" "to work together to ensure that our engagement with Russia is closely coordinated," the US senior administration official affirmed.

Biden told Putin that Washington is ready to assist in the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

“The United States and its allies and partners are committed to the principle of no decisions or discussions about Ukraine without Ukraine. The United States also supports confidence-building measures to advance the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, in support of the Normandy Format,” the official White House statement read.

The leaders of the United States and Ukraine called on Russia to de-escalate tensions. They agreed that "diplomacy is the best way to make significant progress in resolving conflicts."

Biden earlier said that the option of sending American troops to Ukraine in response to the growing tensions with Russia is “not on the table.”