President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke Thursday about a new $3 billion security assistance package for Ukraine, and the two leaders also demanded Russia relinquish control of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, according to the White House.
The phone call took place a day after the White House announced the $2.98 billion assistance package for Ukraine, dovetailing with the country’s Independence Day. The package is the latest tranche of support to help Kyiv fight off the continuing Russian attack.
Biden “congratulated Ukraine on its Independence Day and expressed his admiration for the people of Ukraine, who have inspired the world as they defended their country’s sovereignty over the past six months,” according to a White House readout of the phone call.
“The two leaders also called for Russia to return full control of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant to Ukraine and for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to the plant,” the readout said.
Russia has controlled the Zaporizhzhya plant since early on in the war. But fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces has intensified around the nuclear plant, raising concerns about the potential for a disastrous mishap.
The plant, which is the largest in Europe, was temporarily disconnected from the power grid on Thursday as a result of fires that broke out around lines connecting it to the grid.
International inspectors from the IAEA are seeking access to the plant.
Earlier Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron met with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and reiterated support for sending agency experts to the plant “as quickly as possible,” according to a readout from the Elysée.
In a tweet, Zelensky said that he thanked Biden on Thursday for the “unwavering” U.S. security and financial support for Ukraine amid the Russian war, which passed the six-month mark on Wednesday. He did not specifically mention the Zaporizhzhya plant.
“We discussed Ukraine’s further steps on our path to the victory over the aggressor and importance of holding Russia accountable for war crimes,” Zelensky said.
Source: The Hill