U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will talk on Friday for the first time since Biden took office, amid reports of Russian military buildup power in eastern Ukraine. This was reported by Politico.
"The leaders spoke for 30 to 40 minutes, according to one of the people, and Biden reiterated his commitment to Ukraine and said in his heart and mind he is a great believer in the country," the message reads.
The conversation follows at least three high-level calls between the U.S. and Ukraine this week between Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and their Ukrainian counterparts.
But Ukrainian officials have been advocating for a show of support from the U.S. president amid renewed fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian soldiers in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine that killed four Ukrainian soldiers last week.
"The clashes marked the end of a June 2020 ceasefire, and Russian forces have begun building up military equipment along the border. U.S. European Command raised its alert status to the highest level following the skirmishes," the agency writes.
The Pentagon is on alert as Russia has more broadly stepped up its activity in Eastern Europe and the Arctic over the past week. NATO jets scrambled 10 times on Monday alone to respond to Russian fighter and bomber flights near allied airspace. And last week, three nuclear-armed Russian submarines surfaced in the Arctic, a new show of force in a challenging region.