President Joe Biden reportedly spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday and invited him to the White House in the coming months.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters, ”I have come into this briefing room from the Oval Office where President Biden was on the phone with President Zelensky of Ukraine. This is a call they had been planning to make in advance of President Biden going to Europe (and) meeting with President Putin.”
Biden is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin a week from Wednesday, at a “high-stakes” summit in Geneva, Switzerland, according to National Public Radio.
Per CNN, Sullivan added, “They had the opportunity to talk at some length about all of the issues in the US-Ukraine relationship. And President Biden was able to tell President Zelensky that he will stand up firmly for Ukraine sovereignty, territorial integrity, and its aspirations as we go forward.”
Sullivan was asked whether or not Biden would meet with Zelensky before he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin this summer, to which he answered that Biden told Zelensky “that he looks forward to welcoming him to the White House here in Washington this summer after he returns from Europe.”
Zelensky tweeted about the invitation, writing, “Thank you @POTUS @JoeBiden for inviting me to visit the @WhiteHouse in July during our phone conversation. I look forward to this meeting to discuss ways to expand strategic cooperation between Ukraine and #USA.”
Thank you @POTUS @JoeBiden for inviting me to visit the @WhiteHouse in July during our phone conversation. I look forward to this meeting to discuss ways to expand strategic cooperation between Ukraine and #USA
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) June 7, 2021
Zelensky has been critical of Biden in recent days, speaking out against his decisions in a June 4 interview with Axios.
As reported by The Daily Wire, “Zelensky said that the Biden administration was endangering Ukraine’s national security and empowering Russia by waiving Trump-era sanctions on companies involved in the construction of Nord Stream 2, a pipeline that would move natural gas from Russia to Germany and double the capacity of the original Nord Stream pipeline.”
“We understand that this is a weapon, a real weapon, and I speak openly about it. A weapon in the hands of the Russian Federation, and it is not very understandable, I feel, and definitely not expected, that the bullets to this weapon can possibly be provided by such a great country as the United States because it is an exemplary civilization, an exemplary democracy in the world,” Zelensky said, according to Axios. Biden’s move to waive sanctions “is definitely not aimed at supporting Ukraine.”
The Biden-Putin summit is set to take place on June 16 in Geneva, Switzerland. As reported by The Daily Wire, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, recently made comments aimed at the United States after Biden spoke about Putin’s human rights record.
“The Americans must assume that a number of signals from Moscow … will be uncomfortable for them, including in the coming days,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency, per Reuters.
Ryabkov also reportedly noted that the country would be ready to answer Biden’s questions about human rights in the country, “and said that Moscow was being more flexible than Washington when it came to drawing up an agenda for the summit, RIA reported.”
At a Memorial Day event, Biden commented on Putin’s human rights record. “I’ll be meeting with President Putin in a couple of weeks in Geneva, making it clear that we will not — we will not stand by and let him abuse those rights,” Biden said, per CNN.