US President Joe Biden has discussed bilateral ties and security issues in his first meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The meeting held in the Oval Office, on Wednesday, where he said "the United States remains firmly committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russian aggression and our support for Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations," according to reports.
Zelensky said in his remarks that he expected to discuss the security situation in Crimea and Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, and "Ukraine's chances to join NATO." Crimea was incorporated into Russia in March 2014, following a popular referendum, which Ukraine and the West never recognized.
Biden announced an additional USD 60 million in security assistance to Ukraine, and the creation of a new strategic defence framework as well as an energy and climate dialogue.
The ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, which started in April 2014, has claimed some 14,000 lives and left as many as 40,000 wounded. Kiev blamed Moscow for inciting the conflict. Russia, however, has denied the charges, saying the accusations are groundless.