REVEALED: Zelensky urged Biden to block Russian access to shipping routes from the rest of the world and demanded more sanctions against Putin and the Kremlin’s elite during their Friday call
- Volodymyr Zelensky and Joe Biden spoke for 49 minutes on Friday
- That same day, the US and other G7 nations called for normal trade relations with Russia to be cut, moving to strip it of ‘most favored nation’ status in the WTO
- Biden also limited imports of Russian seafood, alcohol and diamonds
- Meanwhile a rocket attack on Kyiv killed two people overnight Monday
- Ukrainian officials say more than 2,000 have been killed in Russia’s siege of the city of Mariupol, and that more civilians are dead from the war than its military
- Zelensky will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday
- Russian officials are reportedly seeking economic and military help from China
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked President Joe Biden to cut Russia off from international waters during their Friday phone call, it was reported on Monday.
Kyiv’s leader asked the president to tighten the economic noose on Moscow as autocratic President Vladimir Putin’s devastating and unprovoked assault on Ukraine continues into a third week.
His requests included more sanctions on Kremlin elites and further blocking Russia out of global trade, people familiar with the call told CNN.
Zelensky also reportedly floated the idea of restricting Russia’s access to international waterways, which would further inhibit trade.
He’s expected to give a video address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, according to a letter to members from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Meanwhile a top Kremlin official indicated on Monday that Putin’s invasion is not going according to plan. His growing desperation is seen in his brutal treatment of civilians — one person was killed and three hospitalized after a Russian missile hit an apartment block in Kyiv. A second person died after being hit by falling debris from a second missile being intercepted.
Russian troops are closing in on the Ukrainian capital, though one of Putin’s closest allies admitted recently the invasion was not going according to plan. More than 2,000 civilians have died in the city of Mariupol, which has been under siege by the Kremlin’s forces.
A White House readout of Biden’s call with Zelensky gave no indication they discussed limiting Russia by sea.
‘President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to underscore his support for the Ukrainian people as they continue to defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack. President Biden highlighted how the United States is continuing to surge security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine,’ the Friday statement read.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the White House National Security Council for comment.
It comes after the United States levied new sanctions on Moscow Thursday, targeting eight more members of Putin’s inner circle and their families.
Among them is Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov, who the US Treasury Department called Putin’s ‘lead propagandist.’ His wife and two adult children were also sanctioned.
The US also took action against 10 board members of Russia’s second largest bank, after sanctioning the institution itself when Putin first ordered the invasion on February 24.
On Friday Biden signed an executive order widening the ban on trade with Moscow. One of the measures is a ban on Russia imports of seafood, non-industrial diamonds and alcohol. Limits were also imposed on exporting American luxury goods to Russia.
Biden and Zelensky spoke for 49 minutes on Friday. The Ukrainian leader urged Biden to tighten the economic noose on Russia
A readout of their call made no mention of Zelensky’s request about international waterways
Global leaders of the Group of 7 including Biden moved to strip Russia of membership benefits in the World Trade Organization by announcing the intention to remove its ‘most favored nation’ status.
Such a move on the US’s behalf would require approval from Congress.
Russians of all financial stature are already feeling the strain of western sanctions.
Photos taken in Moscow and St. Petersburg since the invasion show sprawling lines at the ATM as people desperately sought to withdraw cash before the ruble plummeted further.
On Monday it was reported that Russian officials have sought military and economic support from China. Putin’s apparent initial hope that Ukraine would fall within a matter of days was shattered by a historic and unprecedented local resistance effort.
If Beijing were to provide Moscow with funding and drones, it would signal a dramatic shift in Russia’s capabilities and further fuel uncertainty about when Putin’s attack would end.
US officials only said China responded to the call, which was reported by CNN. It was denied by both countries involved.
Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as well as other foreign policy officials are meeting with Chinese counterparts in Rome, Italy on Monday.
A view of damaged area after fragments from a Tochka missile which was allegedly launched by Ukrainian forces has fallen in Donetsk region, killing 20 civilians, injured 9 others, on March 14
The main topics of discussion will be the situation in Ukraine and US-China relations, the White House said Sunday.
The meeting was announced shortly after Sullivan warned that China or any other country found to be evading the western blockade would face ‘severe’ consequences.
Sullivan told CNN’s State of the Union the United States was ‘watching closely’ to see if China ‘actually does provide any form of support, material support or economic support to Russia.’
‘It is a concern of ours and we have communicated to Beijing that we will not stand by and allow any country to compensate Russia for its losses,’ he said.
‘We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill that.’
He added, ‘We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country anywhere in the world.’
He indicated that such talks would be part of his Monday meeting with Chinese officials.
‘In terms of the specific means of doing that, again, I’m not going to lay all of that out in public, but we will communicate that privately to China, as we have already done and will continue to do,’ Sullivan said during a separate interview on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday.
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