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Biden and Zelensky discuss economic sanctions, nuclear power plant attack

By Calley Hair
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Biden and Zelensky discuss economic sanctions, nuclear power plant attack
U.S. President Joe Biden, pictured in the South Court Auditorium at the White House on Friday, spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky late Saturday about Russia's ongoing attack on Ukraine. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

March 5 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Saturday evening to discuss Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In a phone conversation that lasted around 30 minutes, Biden highlighted the actions taken by the United States, its allies and private industries to target Russia's economy and make its attack on Ukraine more expensive.

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According to a statement from the White House, Biden "welcomed the decision this evening by Visa and Mastercard to suspend service in Russia," and reiterated his concern about the recent Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

On Twitter, Zelensky classified the conversation as "part of the constant dialogue" between the United States and Ukraine.

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"The agenda included the issues of security, financial support for Ukraine and the continuation of sanctions against Russia," Zelensky wrote.

Saturday's conversation marked the second between the two leaders this week, and at least the fifth since Russia officially launched its invasion on Feb. 24, CNN reports.

The call came just a few hours after Zelensky held a Zoom meeting with members of Congress on Saturday morning. During that virtual meeting, Zelensky urged the United States to stop buying Russian oil and reiterated calls to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

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While NATO rejected Zelensky's calls to enforce a no-fly zone earlier this week, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed support for an embargo on Russian fuel.

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, said on Twitter that "solid majorities of Republicans and Democrats" want the United States to stop buying Russian oil.

"We need to pass my SPIGOT Act and pursue the pathway to peace that is powered by domestic clean energy," Markey said.

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, issued a statement after the call with Zelensky urging the United States to "immediately implement an oil and gas embargo on Russia."

"If the Biden administration won't do so on its own, Congress should mandate that they do so," Cruz said.

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