Biden tells Ukraine's Zelensky that US would respond 'swiftly and decisively' to any further Russian aggression

Originally Published: 13 FEB 22 09:55 ET

Updated: 13 FEB 22 13:17 ET

The call came amid US warnings that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen as soon as this week.

"President Biden made clear that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, together with its Allies and partners, to any further Russian aggression against Ukraine. The two leaders agreed on the importance of continuing to pursue diplomacy and deterrence in response to Russia's military build-up on Ukraine's borders," according to the White House readout.

Biden and Zelensky last spoke in January and it "did not go well," a senior Ukrainian official told CNN at the time, amid disagreements over the "risk levels" of a Russian attack.

Their latest call Sunday came a day after Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin during a call that the US and its allies will respond "decisively and impose swift and severe costs" on Russia should Putin decide to invade Ukraine.

Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday issued a stark warning that the US believes Russia could launch an invasion of Ukraine this week, but is still holding out hope diplomacy can prevail. Sullivan told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" that Russian forces are in a place where an invasion could take place before the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which end on February 20.

The US has estimated that Russia has more than 100,000 troops near the Ukraine border, with thousands added just this week, according to an administration official. As of Saturday, the US had moved some of its forces out of Ukraine and ordered the evacuation of most of its embassy staff on Saturday as fears mount over a possible Russian invasion.

Sullivan said the US Embassy in Ukraine is "ready to complete the drawdown ... should that become necessary."

This story has been updated with additional information.

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