KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy invited U.S. President Joe Biden to visit Ukraine soon when they spoke by phone on Sunday, Zelenskiy’s office said.
Tensions have been rising for weeks over Russia’s troop build-up near Ukraine and Washington has said an invasion could happen anytime. Moscow denies planning one.
“I’m convinced that your arrival in Kyiv in the coming days, which are crucial for stabilising the situation, will be a powerful signal and contribute to de-escalation,” the presidential office quoted Zelenskiy as telling Biden.
The White House declined to comment on the invitation.
CNN cited an unnamed Ukrainian official saying there was no positive response from Biden to the idea.
The Ukrainian readout of the call had Zelenskiy saying Ukraine understood the threats it faced and was ready to face any scenario, while thanking the United States for its support.
“We expect it to among other things help prevent the spread of a mood of panic,” he was quoted as saying.
Zelenskiy has voiced frustrations with some of the dire assessments of a looming war. Such warnings have taken their toll on the economy, piling pressure on the national currency.
(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Angus MacSwan and John Stonestreet)
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a news briefing following talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Kyiv, Ukraine February 8, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich