Joe Biden dials Volodymyr Zelenskyy, discusses security, financial aid as Mastercard, Visa suspend operations in Russia

Washington/ Kyiv | Sangyan News Desk: United States (US) President Joe Biden on Saturday (New York local time) held a telephonic conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy and discussed security and financial support for Kyiv as Russia continues its invasion despite sanctions from the West. This was the second phone call between the two leaders this week.

During the conversation, Biden highlighted that actions were taken by the US and its allies “to raise the costs on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine”, said the White House in a statement. It further said the Biden administration is “surging security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine”.

The two leaders, the White House said, also discussed the recent talks between Russia and Ukraine, adding Biden also commended the “attack” by Russian armed forces on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the country’s Enerhodar.

Joe Biden (left) and Volodymyr Zelenskyy (right)/ file image

“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this evening with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine. President Biden highlighted the ongoing actions undertaken by the United States, its allies and partners, and private industry to raise the costs on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine,” the statement read.

The US President, during the conversation with Zelenskiy, also welcomed decisions by Visa and Mastercard to suspend their operations in Russia, the White House said on Saturday. “President Biden noted his administration is surging security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine and is working closely with Congress to secure additional funding,” it noted.

Mastercard and Visa have suspended their operations in Russia. “We don’t take this decision lightly,” said Mastercard in a statement, noting its cards will no longer be supported by its network.

Meanwhile, Visa said it will also cease also of its transactions in Russia over the next few days. “We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” it said.

Ukraine urges West to amp up military assistance

With Russia continuing its attack on Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has urged the US and other Western countries to amp up their military assistance, including fighter jets, attack aircraft, and air-defense systems.

“If we lose the skies, there will be much more blood on the ground,” Kuleba said while speaking to some reporters after a meeting with his US counterpart Antony Blinken.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Western sanctions were “akin to a declaration of war” as his forces pressed their assault on Ukraine on Saturday for the 10th day. He also reiterated that his aims were to defend Russian- speaking communities through the “demilitarisation and de-Nazification” of Ukraine.

“These sanctions that are being imposed are akin to a declaration of war but thank God it has not come to that,” he said, adding any attempt by another power to impose a no-fly zone in Ukraine would be considered by Russia to be a step into the military conflict.

Lead point – News agency

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