In this image taken through a window, U.S. President Joe Biden talks on the phone in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington/File Photo: AP
WASHINGTON: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed in a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden the current battlefield situation in Ukraine.
Biden reaffirmed unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine, including through continued security, economic and humanitarian aid, according to a White House statement released Sunday
The leaders also discussed recent events in Russia, the statement said.
“Yesterday’s events exposed the weakness of Putin’s regime,” Zelenskyy said during his phone call with Biden. The Ukrainian president said the world must put pressure on Russia until international order is restored.
The two discussed ways to implement the Ukrainian Peace Formula and their positions on the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 11-12.
US, Ukrainian reaction to Russia turmoil
The unprecedented challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin by fighters from the Wagner paramilitary forces has exposed fresh “cracks” in the strength of Putin’s leadership that may take weeks or months to play out, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a TV interview on the NBC program “Meet the Press.”
Blinken characterized Wagner Group’s mutiny and its subsequent crisis as a Russian “internal matter.”
He added, “This is a challenge coming from within to Putin, and that’s where his focus has been. Our focus is resolutely and relentlessly on Ukraine making sure that it has what it needs to defend itself and to take back territory that Russia has seized.”
Blinken said that although it is too soon to tell what Russia’s internal turmoil meant, Putin’s distraction is to the advantage of Ukraine.
He also said that at the end of the day, the reason Ukraine will prevail is that “this is about their land, this is about their future, this is about their freedom, not Russia’s.”
Zelenskyy also held a phone conversation with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with the two leaders discussing the security situation in Russia.
“Volodymyr, Canada is committed to standing with Ukraine and providing Ukrainians with the support they need,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said he discussed the turmoil in Russia in a phone call with his U.S. counterpart Sunday, describing the Russian authorities as “weak” and saying things were “moving in the right direction.”
In a brief readout of the call with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Reznikov said they also discussed Ukraine’s counteroffensive and steps to strengthen Ukraine’s armed forces.
“We agree that the Russian authorities are weak and that withdrawing Russian troops from Ukraine is the best choice for the Kremlin,” Reznikov wrote on Twitter.