Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, is set to meet with President Biden on Wednesday and will bring up the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in the context of its own security assurances from Washington, a report said.
“The situation in Afghanistan seems to indicate a realignment of U.S. global commitments, and President Zelensky wants to hear from President Biden where Ukraine fits in,” Andrew Mac, Zelensky’s adviser, told the New York Times.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon on August 31, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
The report said leaders in Kiev have expressed concerns about the Biden administration’s “mild responses” on the security situation in the region. Mac, the U.S. State Department and the White House did not immediately respond to after-hour emails from Fox News.
The Biden administration has insisted that the U.S. is unwavering in commitments and placed much of the blame for the crisis in Afghanistan on the country’s military and the Trump administration.
“The previous administration’s agreement said that if we stuck to the May 1st deadline that they had signed on to leave by, the Taliban wouldn’t attack any American forces,” Biden said on Tuesday. “But if we stayed all bets were off. So we were left with a simple decision: Either follow through on the commitment made by the last administration and leave Afghanistan or say we weren’t leaving and commit another tens of thousands more troops going back to war. That was the choice. The real choice between leaving or escalating.”
Earlier this month, Biden was asked in an interview about how other countries should view the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Many asked if Washington could still be viewed as a reliable ally. Biden insisted that if “anyone were to invade or take action against our NATO allies, we would respond.”
But allies were critical of Washington’s moves in Afghanistan and said they were not kept in the loop on some of the decisions.
Tobias Ellwood, the chair of the Defense Committee in the British Parliament, said earlier this month that many are “bewildered that after two decades of this big, high-tech power intervening, they [US] are withdrawing and effectively handing the country [Afghanistan] back to the people we went to defeat.”
“This is irony,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “How can you say America is back when we’re being defeated by an insurgency armed with no more than [rocket-propelled grenades], land mines and AK-47s?”
Zelensky has called Washington’s failure to block the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany a grave political error, and he is expected to again raise the issue during his talks with Biden.
He described the new pipeline as a powerful geopolitical weapon for Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 after the ouster of the former Kremlin-friendly president and has thrown its weight behind a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report