Presidents Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky spoke on Sunday evening in a call which reiterated the U.S.’s support for Ukraine and highlighted ongoing financial and military assistance.
So it was it a friendly chat?
Of course, western-supplied weapons have been a crucial part of Ukraine's defence against Russia’s invasion and the two leaders enjoy a very close relationship – U.S. support already totals $50 billion and counting.
Did Biden announce a new aid package?
No, the most recent packages have already been made public and in a statement released after the call, the White House highlighted $53 million for Ukraine's energy infrastructure announced in November, along with a December package of $275 million in ammunition and equipment.
So what was new?
It was more a reiteration of the U.S.’s support and a promise to keep it going for as long as it takes to defeat Russia.
Biden underscored “ongoing U.S. support for Ukraine's defense as Russia continues its assaults on Ukraine's critical infrastructure.” He also “reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue providing Ukraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance, holding Russia accountable for its war crimes and atrocities, and imposing costs on Russia for its aggression.”
Was anything said about the weapons Ukraine needs?
Although no new pledges were made, Biden said the U.S. was prioritizing air defenses.
The call came as Russia has been targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure, causing widespread power cuts and leaving millions without electricity as temperatures drop.
Odesa in the south of Ukraine has been particularly badly hit in recent days and a night-time attack by "kamikaze drones" on Saturday almost left the entire city without electricity. Only critical infrastructure, including hospitals and maternity wards, had access to power.
Russia fired dozens of cruise missiles at key infrastructure in Ukraine last week, piling pressure on the country's already ailing grid after repeated attacks.
Russia began targeting Ukraine's infrastructure during humiliating military defeats. On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to keep battering Ukraine's energy grid despite an outcry against the attacks that have plunged millions into cold and darkness.
What did Zelensky say?
“I thanked [Biden] for the unprecedented defense and financial assistance that the USA provides to Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said, adding it was a “fruitful conversation”.
"This not only contributes to success on the battlefield, but also supports the stability of the Ukrainian economy.”
Anything else I need to know about?
The Ukrainian presidency said Zelensky had “emphasized that Ukraine wants to achieve peace and drew attention to the importance of consolidating international efforts to reach this goal.”
Biden welcomed Zelensky's “stated openness to a just peace based on fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter,” the White House statement said.
Biden's administration said this month that the West was not pushing Ukraine to enter talks with Russia, and that it was up to Zelensky to determine how and when to pursue negotiations.