Biden speaks with Zelensky after Putin recognizes separatist regions

President Biden on Monday spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he would recognize two breakaway territories in Ukraine as independent.

On the call, Biden reaffirmed the commitment of the US to Ukraine’s sovereignty and condemned Putin’s decision. 

“He updated President Zelenskyy on the United States’ response, including our plan to issue sanctions. President Biden reiterated that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, in lock-step with its Allies and partners, to further Russian aggression against Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. 

“Discussed the events of the last hours with @POTUS. We begin the meeting of the National Security and Defense Council,” Zelensky said in a statement. He added that he has an upcoming conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson scheduled as well.

Putin will sign a decree recognizing the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk Peoples Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic, which are in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region and controlled by Russian-backed separatists. The move marks a rejection of diplomatic efforts to cease fighting. 

Later on Monday, Biden convened a secure call at 3:17 p.m. with French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz, which lasted approximately 30 minutes, according to a White House official.

“The leaders strongly condemned President Putin’s decision to recognize the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine as ‘independent.’ They discussed how they will continue to coordinate their response on next steps,” the White House said in a statement. 

In response to Putin’s decision to recognize the areas as independent, the White House announced that Biden plans to sign an executive order blocking new U.S. investment, trade and financing from flowing into two Russian separatist-held regions in Ukraine.

The U.S. has warned that an invasion could happen at any moment, given the substantial Russian military buildup of as many as 190,000 troops in and around Ukraine. 

In his speech from Moscow, Putin described his vision of a Ukraine that has historically been part of Russia and is now under the control of the West. He also made accusations against Ukraine, the U.S. and Western allies. 

Biden met privately with his national security team on Monday and is receiving regular updates on the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. 

The president on Friday said he is “convinced” that Putin has “made the decision” to invade Ukraine, but emphasized that a diplomatic path forward will remain open.

Updated: 5:14 p.m.

Tags Boris Johnson independent states Joe Biden Putin Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin White House
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