Joe Biden says US not party to Ukraine's territorial decisions
- "I am not going to tell them what they should and should not do", Biden said
- Russia and Ukraine will have to reach a "settlement" at some point, Biden said
- 20% of Ukrainian territory is controlled by Russia, Zelensky said
United States President Joe Biden said that Ukraine can make its own territorial decision as Russian forces gain more ground. "I am not going to tell them what they should and should not do", Biden told reports on Friday.
Biden's stance was revealed as Moscow has turned up the pressure on Kyiv to concede territory as the invasion completes 100 days.
"From the beginning, I have said — and not everyone’s agreed with me — nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine. It is their territory. I am not going to tell them what they should and should not do", Biden said from Delaware, according to CNN reports.
Biden also predicted that Ukraine and Russia may have to reach a "settlement" at some point. However, he said that he is not aware of "what that entails."
Ukraine has so far lost control over small but strategic pockets of land in the southern and eastern regions. While recently addressing Luxembourg's parliament, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia currently occupies about 20% of the country's territory.
"The front lines of the fighting extended across more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) of land", Zelensky informed the parliament earlier this month, CNBC reported.
Sergei Lavrov, Russia's minister of foreign affairs, said that Moscow considers the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine an "unconditional priority." Steady advances by Russian forces have been made in the region over the last month.
Initially, at least, annexing more land from Ukraine was not believed to be the main goal of the invasion. It was widely thought that the Kremlin intended to install a pro-Moscow government in Kyiv that would prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and pulling further away from Russia’s influence.
Russian forces captured much of Kherson and neighboring Zaporizhzhia early in the war, gaining control over most of Ukraine’s Sea of Azov coast and securing a partial land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. They completed the takeover last month with the capture of the port city of Mariupol following a three-month siege.