Biden, a White House official said, “plans to speak by phone with President Zelensky of Ukraine on Sunday to reaffirm US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, discuss Russia’s military build-up on Ukraine’s borders, and review preparations for upcoming diplomatic engagements to help de-escalate the situation in the region.”
The call comes days before Russian and US officials are set to meet in person in Geneva on January 10 amid a Russian military buildup on the Ukraine border and ongoing tensions. Zelensky spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ahead of the call earlier this week.
During a call with Putin on Thursday, Biden urged him to take steps to ease the crisis on Russia’s border with Ukraine, warning again of dire economic consequences should Putin proceed with an invasion. Putin told Biden that introducing a new round of sanctions against Russia would amount to a “colossal mistake” that could lead to a complete breakdown of relations between the two countries, a Kremlin aide said.
The 50-minute phone call did not yield any major breakthroughs, US and Russian officials said afterward, but did establish the tenor for the upcoming in-person diplomatic talks.
This story is breaking and will be updated.