KYIV: The United States is prioritising efforts to boost Ukraine’s air defences, President Joe Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart on Sunday, as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stepped up efforts to secure international assistance over the Russian invasion that is dragging into a 10th month.
Heavy fighting in the country’s east and south continued unabated, while drone and missile strikes on key power infrastructure, notably in the Black Sea port city of Odesa, kept many Ukrainians in the cold and dark.
There are no peace talks and no end in sight to the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War Two, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation” and Ukraine and its allies call an unprovoked act of aggression.
“We are constantly working with partners,” Zelenskiy said after talking to Biden and the leaders of France and Turkey, adding that he expects some “important results” next week from a series of international events that will tackle the situation in Ukraine.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will hold on Monday an online meeting with G7 leaders and the European Union foreign ministers will to try to agree on further sanctions on Russia and Iran and on additional aid or arms deliveries to Ukraine.
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While Zelenskiy has held numerous talks with Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan since Russian forces invaded in late February, the accumulation of discussions in just one day is not a regular event.
Zelenskiy said he had thanked Biden for “unprecedented defence and financial” help the United States has provided and talked with the U.S. president about Ukraine’s need for effective anti-aircraft defence systems to protect the population.
Biden “reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue providing Ukraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance, holding Russia accountable for its war crimes and atrocities, and imposing costs on Russia for its aggression”, the White House said.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CBS’s “60 Minutes” Washington’s support for Ukraine’s military and economy – more than $50 billion and counting – would continue “for as long as it takes” and reiterated that ending the war was the single best thing the United States could do for the global economy.