The US and French presidents vow to hold Russia accountable for “atrocities and war crimes” in its invasion of Ukraine.
The United States and France pledged to maintain support for Ukraine against Russia’s ongoing invasion, stressing that those responsible for attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in the war-torn country must be held to account.
In a statement outlining discussions between US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron at the White House on Thursday, the two countries criticized Russia’s “illegal aggressive war” against their neighbor.
Biden and Macron “also reiterate their strong determination to hold Russia to account for widely documented atrocities and war crimes committed by both its regular armed forces and their proxies,” the statement said.
“We reaffirm that France and the United States together, with all our NATO and European Union and G7 allies, stand stronger than ever against Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine,” Biden said during a press conference alongside Macron. after lengthy conversations in the Oval Office.
The US president told reporters that “France and the United States are confronting Vladimir Putin’s greedy ambition for conquest” and “defending democratic values and universal human rights.”
Biden also said he was “prepared to talk to” Russian President Vladimir Putin “if there is in fact an interest in him deciding that he is looking for a way to end the war.” But Biden added that Putin “hasn’t done that yet.”
Western powers are trying to rally support for Ukraine as the country reels from near-weekly massive missile and drone attacks on power, water and heat supplies in its cities just as winter has arrived nine months after the invasion of Russia.
Thursday’s talks between Biden and Macron came as Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko urged residents of the Ukrainian capital to stock up on water, food and warm clothing in the event of a total blackout.
Klitschko also advised people to consider staying with friends on the outskirts of the city if possible.
Russian rockets shelled neighborhoods overnight in the recently liberated city of Kherson. The attacks knocked out power after electricity had only just begun to be restored nearly three weeks after Russian troops left the city.
Some locals hugged the Ukrainian military as they patrolled past burned-out cars and buildings whose windows were blown out by overnight shelling, leaving several people hospitalized.
“Ukraine will win. We will get through this,” said Inna Sydorchuk, 52, a resident of one of the apartment blocks that was attacked.
Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov defended the country’s recent attacks, saying Ukraine’s energy infrastructure “supports the combat capability of the Ukrainian armed forces and nationalist battalions.”
Lavrov told an online news conference that the bombing was intended to “bring down the power facilities that allow it to keep pumping deadly weapons into Ukraine to kill the Russians.”
Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of trying to “freeze” Ukraine into submission.
“President Putin seems to have decided that if he cannot take Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it into submission,” he said on November 4 after a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Germany.
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