© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden talks with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez prior to the start of a mangrove planting event at Ngurah Rai Forest Park, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia November 16, 2022. Dita Alang
By Arshad Mohammed and Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will discuss Ukraine, defense cooperation, and migration on Friday during a meeting at the White House in which the war between Moscow and Kyiv is likely to loom large.
While Madrid agrees with Washington on the illegality of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Sanchez will convey the divergent views of China and Brazil and propose listening to the views of non-NATO nations hurt by the war, a Spanish diplomatic source said.
Sanchez has expressed “unconditional support” for Zelenskiy and backs the his peace proposal, which includes demands to restore Ukraine’s territory to the status quo before Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
The United States reacted skeptically to China’s 12-point peace plan, saying if Beijing were serious about its first point on respecting sovereignty it should urge Russia to withdraw.
Similarly, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva drew U.S. criticism for his suggesting the West had been “encouraging” war by arming Ukraine.
A White House official said China and Brazil could play a role in eventual peace talks, but stressed that an end to the war must respect the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We support (Ukrainian) President (Volodymyr) Zelenskiy’s call for a just end to Russia’s war of choice that respects certain principles, including sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the official said, adding Biden would thank Sanchez for Spanish security and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
The official said Biden would thank Sanchez for Spain’s commitment to collaborate on expanding “migration pathways” for people from Latin America. They would also discuss efforts to strengthen the defense relationship between the United States and Spain, he said.
(This story has been corrected to fix attribution to White House official, not Spanish government source, in paragraph 7)