WASHINGTON — President Biden on Wednesday assured Ukraine’s president that the United States remained against “Russian aggression” within the area, utilizing an Oval Office assembly to affirm his assist for a frontrunner unnerved by America’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan.
The assembly with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine additionally allowed Mr. Biden to ship a message to Russia that he was dedicated to standing by a strategic accomplice that Moscow has invaded.
“The partnership between our nations grows stronger and its going to develop into even stronger,” Mr. Biden stated, noting the 2 nations had a “comparable worth system” that included a dedication to a Europe that was “entire, free and at peace.”
Despite a delay of some days, due partly to the unfolding disaster in Afghanistan, Mr. Zelensky lastly acquired the Oval Office reception he had been looking for since his election in 2019. His earlier efforts to safe such a gathering with President Donald J. Trump led to Mr. Zelensky unwittingly changing into entangled in a world incident that led to Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.
Mr. Zelensky, for his half, thanked the United States for a brand new $60 million protection assist bundle and stated he wished to concentrate on safety points, together with the Russian occupation of Crimea.
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Speaking by way of a translator, he expressed condolences for the 13 U.S. service members killed final week in Afghanistan. “We are very compassionate, since we now have been coping with such tragic losses for eight years in a row,” Mr. Zelensky stated, referring to these killed preventing in jap Ukraine towards Russian-backed separatists.
During the assembly, Mr. Biden additionally advised Mr. Zelensky that he wished to journey to Ukraine, which no American president has visited since President George W. Bush in 2008. Mr. Biden visited Ukraine commonly as vice chairman.
A present of assist could also be mandatory. Ukrainians have been discouraged as they’ve watched America’s unruly and abrupt exit from Afghanistan. “Their fear is that commitments, understandings and confidence that they’ve had from and with the United States may very well be jeopardized by this,” stated William B. Taylor Jr., who served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine between 2006 and 2009, and who was a star witness throughout Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial.
“They nearly desperately need to consider that the longtime assist for Ukraine, over administrations of every kind, goes to persist,” he stated. “But they will’t assist however be involved once they see the United States rapidly, and with some disarray, pulling out of a rustic the place we’ve been for 20 years.”
Mr. Biden’s goal forward of the assembly was to reveal a transparent dedication to Ukraine’s sovereignty, officers stated. The choice to permit Mr. Zelensky to be solely the second European chief to go to the White House since Mr. Biden’s inauguration despatched a robust sign that Ukraine stays a precedence for the administration.
Aug. 24, 2021, 4:52 p.m. ET
Supporting Ukraine is vital for an administration that has made strengthening democratic norms at dwelling and overseas as a key goal, international coverage specialists stated.
Mr. Biden additionally signed off on a brand new $60 million assist bundle with Ukraine that included Javelin anti-armor missiles and different deadly weapons, an official stated, and introduced new agreements on safety, vitality and local weather coordination after bilateral conferences with the visiting Ukrainian delegation.
The Biden administration has now offered greater than $400 million in safety help to Ukraine this yr, an official stated.
The Trump administration additionally offered deadly weapons to Ukraine, reversing a call not to take action by the Obama administration, when Mr. Biden was vice chairman. Former President Barack Obama restricted American assist to Ukraine to “nonlethal” objects like physique armor, night-vision goggles and first assist kits, to keep away from tempting President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to boost the stakes.
The Biden administration was additionally anticipated to signal a revised strategic protection framework to spice up cooperation on safety, cybersecurity and intelligence sharing, setting the stage for nearer cooperation that can enhance the capabilities of the Ukrainian navy, officers stated.
Overall, nonetheless, Mr. Biden’s report on Ukraine has been blended, specialists stated. The administration dropped its efforts earlier this yr to dam the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is able to transport pure gasoline straight from Russia to Germany, permitting Russia to bypass Ukraine and deprive it of income from transit charges.
In a joint assertion launched after the assembly, each nations acknowledged that they “proceed to oppose Nord Stream 2, which we view as a menace to European vitality safety.”
The Biden administration has additionally not but introduced a nominee to function ambassador to Ukraine, a place that has remained vacant since 2019 when Marie L. Yovanovitch was ousted from her job for obvious disloyalty to Mr. Trump.