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Biden backs Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion

U.S. President Joe Biden assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Sunday of Washington’s commitment to “Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” even as the United States says the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms as a “distinct possibility” in the coming days.

Biden conferred by phone with the Ukrainian leader from the Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington, where the U.S. leader is spending the weekend as Western officials express increased fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin could attack the one-time Soviet republic in the next few days, possibly by Wednesday.

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The White House said in a statement that Biden “made clear [to Zelenskiy] that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, together with its allies and partners, to any further Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

Biden, however, has ruled out sending U.S. troops to fight alongside Ukrainians in the event of a Russian invasion, while vowing to impose “swift and severe” economic sanctions.

Moscow’s troops have now surrounded much of Ukraine with more than 130,000 troops, to the north of Ukraine in Russian ally Belarus and along Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia, while positioning warships to the south in the Black Sea along the Crimean Peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

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While ruling out sending the U.S. military to fight in Ukraine, Biden sent 5,000 U.S. troops to NATO countries in eastern European countries closest to Russia to help bolster their fighting forces.

VOA

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