Zelenskyy tweeted about his conversation with Biden. “The first international conversation of the year with @POTUS proves the special nature of our relationship,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not shied away from calling for Russian military action to resolve ongoing differences with Ukraine.
Ukraine, once dubbed Russia’s bread basket for its agricultural production, was part of the Soviet Union until it was dissolved by President Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1991. As a sovereign nation, Ukraine soon faced economic difficulties and rampant corruption.
In 2014, Putin and Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine; Fighting followed in the Donbas, a region in southeastern Ukraine. Troops backed by Russia now occupy part of this region.
Biden has responded to current tensions by saying that the United States would not accept a Russian invasion of Ukraine and threatening sanctions.
He spoke to Putin on Thursday, who does not want Ukraine to join NATO, which was founded in 1949 as a counterweight to the Soviet Union in Europe. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has expanded into Eastern Europe and invited former enemies to join.
Putin said Ukraine’s accession to NATO would leave Russia unprotected from direct attack from the West.
“They have pushed us to a limit that we cannot cross,” Putin said in a statement at the end of December. “They have come so far that we just have to tell them: ‘Stop!'”