US President Joe Biden has invited his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House, at a time when the first bilateral summit between the United States and Russia is to be held. Moscow and Kiev have maintained very strained relations since the sending of thousands of Russian soldiers to the Ukrainian borders.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced Monday that the White House tenant had a telephone discussion with Volodymyr Zelensky and assured him that he supported Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
This reaffirmation of American support for Ukraine comes against the backdrop of already strained relations between Washington and Moscow since the election of Joe Biden. Nevertheless, a summit will bring together the two American and Russian heads of state on June 16 in Geneva.
Jake Sullivan also announced that Joe Biden would be “impatient” to receive Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House “this summer”, he added. President Zelensky thanked Joe Biden for this invitation scheduled for July.
“I look forward to this meeting, which will allow us to discuss ways to expand strategic cooperation between Ukraine and the United States,” the Ukrainian president said on Twitter.
Joe Biden and Vladimir Poutin will meet for the first time in Geneva after a trip by the US president for the annual NATO and G7 summits.
Russia had already communicated on this summit and said it did not expect a major diplomatic “breakthrough” between the two countries.
“We are not deluding ourselves and we are not trying to give the impression that there will be a breakthrough, historic decisions bringing about fundamental changes,” said Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during an online press conference.
“But the very fact that there will be a conversation between the leaders of the two major nuclear powers is important, and it should be encouraged in any way possible,” he said.