US President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for about an hour, according to the White House.
Zelensky tweeted after the call that they "shared assessment of the situation on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. Talked about specific defensive support, a new package of enhanced sanctions, macro-financial and humanitarian aid."
In a statement, the White House said Biden told Zelensky the US “intends to provide the Ukrainian government with $500 million in direct budgetary aid” on the call.
The budgetary aid is to help pay salaries, among other things, according to an official.
“The leaders discussed how the United States is working around the clock to fulfill the main security assistance requests by Ukraine, the critical effects those weapons have had on the conflict, and continued efforts by the United States with allies and partners to identify additional capabilities to help the Ukrainian military defend its country,” the White House says, adding Biden also “reviewed the additional sanctions and humanitarian assistance announced last week.”
The call was scheduled for 10:45 a.m. ET (5:45 p.m. in Kyiv) “to discuss our continued support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.” It began at 11:08 a.m. ET and ended at 12:03 p.m. ET.
The call comes a day after Biden and other US officials voiced extreme caution at signals Russia is scaling back its military operations near Kyiv, suggesting they were waiting to see stronger signs of de-escalation before making an assessment of Moscow's intentions.
"We'll see. I don't read anything into it until I see what their actions are. We'll see if they follow through what they're suggesting," Biden said at the White House Tuesday.
Biden noted that in the meantime, the US will continue to "keep strong the sanctions" and "provide the Ukrainian military with their capacity to defend themselves."