President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to hold joint news conference in Italy

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy are holding a joint press conference in Italy on Thursday, the same day the two leaders are expected to sign a long-term security agreement. 

The agreement fulfills a pledge last year to solidify Ukrainian security and is meant to be a bridge to an eventual invitation to Ukraine to join NATO. The president’s news conference with Zelenskyy follows a day of meetings with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and leaders of the other G7 nations with advanced industrialized economies. The G7 countries are the U.S., Italy, Canada, Germany, France, Canada and the United Kingdom. 

“By signing this we’ll also be sending Russia a signal of our resolve,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Wednesday. “If Vladimir Putin thinks he can outlast the coalition supporting Ukraine, he’s wrong.”

G7 Leaders Summit - Day One
 European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pose for a family photo during a welcome ceremony on day one of the 50th G7 summit at Borgo Egnazia on June 13, 2024 in Fasano, Italy. 

Antonio Masiello / Getty Images

As Mr. Biden was departing the U.S. for Italy, the Treasury and Commerce departments announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russia and its “war machine.” The latest sanctions are aimed at slowing Russia’s military growth as it continues its war in Ukraine. The sanctions will make it harder for Russia to import supplies to build military equipment, though they will still allow food and goods to get into Russia outside those sectors.

More than a dozen other nations have similar security agreements with Ukraine. 

The Biden administration is now allowing Ukraine to use U.S. weapons across the border into Russia near the city of Kharkiv, a policy change that Sullivan said came with Russia opening a new front in its war. 

“Our position here we believe is straightforward and common sensical,” Sullivan said. “Russians are launching attacks from one side of the border directly on to the other side of the border. And Ukraine ought to be able to fire back across that border.” 

Mr. Biden and Zelenskyy also met last week, on the sidelines of D-Day memorial events in France. Then, Mr. Biden publicly apologized to Zelenskyy for a monthslong holdup in military assistance that allowed Russia to make gains in its war. 

“You haven’t bowed down. You haven’t yielded at all,” Mr. Biden told Zelenskyy in France. “You continue to fight in a way that is just remarkable, just remarkable. We’re not going to walk away from you.” 

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