Biden pledges U.S. assist, security assist in initial assembly with Ukraine’s Zelenskiy

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) – (This September 1 tale adds dropped letter to initially identify

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) – (This September 1 tale adds dropped letter to initially identify of Ukrainian president in 1st paragraph.)

President Joe Biden informed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday the United States was “firmly fully commited” to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and available Kyiv $60 million in new safety assist as it grapples with aggression from Moscow.

“The United States stays firmly committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the encounter of Russian aggression,” Biden said at the commencing of a assembly with his Ukrainian counterpart in the Oval Business office.

“Today we are likely to explore how the U.S. can carry on to aid Ukraine as it innovations its democratic reforms agenda,” Biden stated.

The two leaders, at their initially experience-to-confront meeting since Biden took office in January, also had the Nord Stream 2 pipeline on their agenda, a undertaking Ukraine fears could be applied by Russia as a geopolitical weapon.

Zelenskiy lifted his considerations about the pipeline in his opening remarks and reported he would look for to listen to Biden’s eyesight of Ukraine’s likelihood for joining the NATO military alliance and a time frame for such a go.

Zelenskiy explained to reporters in June he required a clear “sure” or “no” from Biden on giving Ukraine a strategy to join the North Atlantic Treaty Corporation. He has urged NATO customers to speed up Ukraine’s entry right after a standoff with Russia this calendar year in which Moscow massed more troops and navy devices in close proximity to Ukraine’s borders.

NATO allies feel Ukraine wants to undertake more political reforms just before attaining membership. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki underscored that Ukraine necessary to modernize its defense sector and advance rule-of-regulation reforms in order to meet NATO membership specifications.

Zelenskiy told reporters soon after the meeting that no time frame on NATO emerged from the discussions, but claimed of Biden: “I experience that the president individually, and not only really feel – I listened to this – the president personally supports Ukraine relating to the granting of NATO membership.”

Zelenskiy’s White Household pay a visit to came following he played an unwitting and large-profile position in the procedure that led to previous President Donald Trump’s first impeachment.

Trump, a Republican who dropped the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Biden, had pressed the new Ukrainian leader in a 2019 phone contact to look into Biden and his son, Hunter, who had served as a director of a Ukrainian electrical power corporation. Information of the cellular phone phone and related steps sparked an energy to get rid of Trump from office environment.

Requested if Biden expected to address that in the meeting, Psaki reported just: “No.”

‘VERY Considerably CONCERNED’

The Wednesday get-alongside one another took put as European leaders just take stock of Biden’s abrupt withdrawal from Afghanistan, a shift that prompted some allies to increase issues about U.S. security commitments.

Ukraine and Russia have been at odds because Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and backed separatists in a conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass area, which Ukraine suggests has killed 14,000 men and women.

The new $60 million protection aid package for Ukraine would include Javelin anti-armor systems and other “defensive lethal and nonlethal abilities,” a senior Biden administration formal mentioned prior to the visit.

The meeting came just after the Biden administration announced a deal last month with Germany intended partly to allay Ukrainian problems about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline staying constructed beneath the Baltic Sea to have gas from Russia’s Arctic area to Germany.

Ukraine is worried that the pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine, could embolden Moscow to just take even further action against Kyiv and has sought assures above its standing as a gas transit region as soon as the pipeline turns into operational.

“We are extremely substantially involved, as you are, with the commissioning of – possible commission on the Nord Stream 2,” Zelenskiy instructed Biden.

The two international locations claimed in a joint statement right after the assembly that they each oppose the venture and “support initiatives to enhance capability for fuel supplies to Ukraine from diversified sources.”

The U.S. Office of Power explained on Tuesday that officials from equally nations had signed a letter of intent to cooperate on strength and weather modify.

Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland Further reporting by Pavel Polityuk Enhancing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney

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