(PresidentialWire.com)- Last Thursday, President Biden had a phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that, according to a senior Ukrainian official “did not go well.”
While the White House is not releasing the transcript of the call, it did release a “read-out” that summarized the conversation. According to the White House, Biden “reaffirmed” US readiness to “respond decisively” should Russia invade Ukraine, and “underscored” the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territory.
But according to CNN, a Ukrainian official familiar with the call said Biden told Zelensky that a Russian invasion was certain and once the ground had frozen in February, Russia would move. The source also claimed Biden told Zelensky that Kyiv would be “sacked.”
The source told CNN that Zelensky urged President Biden to “calm down” on his “imminent invasion” messaging because it was disrupting Ukraine’s economy.
When CNN first issued the report, the White House hit back, claiming anonymous sources were “leaking falsehoods” about the call. While the White House did confirm that Biden told Zelensky a February invasion was a “distinct possibility,” they disputed the claim that the call did not go well.
National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne told CNN said any claims to the contrary “are completely false.”
A spokesman for President Zelensky also disputed the anonymous Ukraine official’s characterization of the call.
But in a press conference on Friday, President Zelensky told reporters he spent much of the 20-minute call telling Biden that the “imminent invasion” talk could lead to economic devastation which would only increase the likelihood of a Russian assault.
Zelensky said he told the president that Ukraine needs to stabilize its economy and the “tomorrow is the war” rhetoric is causing panic in the markets and the financial sector.
He also suggested that instead of banging the war drums, the western press should come to Kyiv and see the situation on the ground for themselves. Zelensky added that the image the press is portraying is “not the case.”
“We don’t need this panic,” Zelensky said.