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West determined to protect Ukraine sovereignty

December 7, 2021

The United States, Germany, Italy, France and Britain are all standing by Ukraine in the face of Russian threats. Western leaders call on Moscow to respect Kyiv's "territorial integrity."

Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office
According to media reports, US intelligence believes Russia is planning an invasion of UkraineImage: Doug Mills/CNP/picture alliance

Leaders of the United States, Germany, Italy, France and Britain on Monday emphasized the need to protect the sovereignty of Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian hostility.

The flurry of discussion around Ukraine comes ahead of an anticipated video conference between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday. Late last week, US media reported intelligence officials believe Putin is preparing an invasion with a 175,000-strong force.

What have Western officials said?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Monday, repeating Washington's "unwavering support" for Ukraine's sovereignty as the country faces "Russian aggression," the State Department said.

The White House and Downing Street confirmed Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and French President Emmanuel Macron all spoke Monday evening about the situation in Ukraine, as well as its border with Russia.

"The leaders called on Russia to de-escalate tensions and reaffirmed their staunch support for Ukraine's territorial integrity," Johnson's spokesperson said.

They also "expressed their commitment to act to maintain peace and security in Europe," the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said after the phone call.

Macron's office called on Russia to return to the Normandy Four format of talks that France and Germany spearheaded to reengage in negotiations with Ukraine.

CIA Director Williiam Burns also said Monday he would not underestimate Putin's appetite for risk.

ar/jsi (AFP, Reuters)