Zelenskyy tweeted about his conversation with Biden. â€œThe first international talk of the year with @POTUS proves the special nature of our relations,â€ he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been shy about suggesting that Russian military action might be needed to resolve ongoing differences with Ukraine.
Once referred to as Russiaâ€™s bread basket for its agricultural output, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until it was dissolved by President Mikhail Gorbachev in December 1991. As a sovereign nation, Ukraine was soon beset by economic difficulties and rampant corruption.
In 2014, Putin and Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine; that was followed by battles in Donbas, a region in southeastern Ukraine. Russian-backed forces now occupy part of that region.
Biden has responded to the current tensions by indicating that the United States would not accept a Russian invasion of Ukraine, threatening sanctions.
He spoke Thursday with Putin, who doesnâ€™t want Ukraine to be admitted to NATO, the alliance created in 1949 as a counterweight against the Soviet Union in Europe. Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has expanded into Eastern Europe, inviting former enemies to join.
Putin has said that Ukraineâ€™s entry into NATO would leave Russia unprotected from a direct attack from the West.
â€œThey have pushed us to a line that we canâ€™t cross,â€ Putin said in remarks in late December. â€œThey have taken it to the point where we simply must tell them: â€˜Stop!â€™â€