Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden lost his temper with Volodymyr Zelenskyy in June during a phone conversation when he asked for more military aid, NBC News reported on Monday, citing sources familiar with the call.
The report said Biden routinely calls Zelenskyy when the US announces new aid packages for Ukraine. But the June call was different.
Biden had barely finished informing Zelenskyy that he had approved another USD 1 billion in military assistance for Ukraine when his counterpart started asking for extra help Kyiv needs but isn’t getting, the report said.
Biden raised his voice, and as per the NBC report said Zelenskyy could “show a little more gratitude.”
Prior to the June 15 phone call, Biden’s dissatisfaction with Zelenskyy had been building for weeks, the sources said. According to them, the US president and a number of his aides believed that Washington was doing everything possible and as quickly as possible, but Zelenskyy continued to publicly pay attention only to what was not being done.
After Zelenskyy was rebuffed during the June call, Zelenskyy publicly delivered a video message thanking Biden for the assistance and defusing the tensions.
“I had an important conversation with US President Biden today,” NBC quoted Ukraine’s president in videotaped remarks. “I am grateful for this support. It is especially important for our defence in Donbas.”
The United States has been a leading provider of security assistance to Ukraine, particularly since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on February 24.
This report on the Biden-Zelenskyy phone call comes two days after Washington announced USD 275 million in additional military assistance for Ukraine.
“This drawdown will bring the total US military assistance for Ukraine to an unprecedented level of more than USD 18.5 billion since the beginning of the Administration,” the US State Department said in a statement.
The United States, in 2022, provided more advanced defence equipment to Ukraine, as well as greater amounts of previously provided equipment, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
According to Pentagon, US security assistance committed to Ukraine, includes High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-armour systems and Mi-17 helicopters.
Ukrainian officials have sought to acquire other advanced systems, including fighter aircraft, anti-ship, and additional air defence and anti-missile capabilities.