Joe Biden Picture With Ukraine's President Mocked As Kyiv Fears Russian Troop Buildup

A prominent Russian politician has mocked a photo of a conversation between President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during which the two leaders discussed the threat posed by Moscow.

The Ukrainian leader tweeted the picture with Biden, taken on the sidelines of the COP26 environmental summit, on Tuesday.

"While talking to @POTUS in Glasgow, we discussed the security situation in the Donbass," Zelenskiy wrote in Ukrainian, according to a translation, referring to Kyiv's concerns about a Russian troop buildup near its border.

Zelenskiy added that the U.S. "continues to support territorial integrity and reforms" in Ukraine.

Під час розмови з @POTUS у Глазго обговорили безпекову ситуацію на Донбасі. 🇺🇸 продовжують підтримувати територіальну цілісність і реформи в 🇺🇦. pic.twitter.com/PlkOmDJngZ

— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) November 2, 2021

But Alexei Pushkov, a senator from the Perm region who was formerly head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of the Russian parliament, took to his Telegram channel to poke fun at the meeting and the expression on Zelenskiy's face.

Pushkov shared an article from Russian publication Izvestia, which referred to a Daily Mail report that said "Zelenskiy corners Biden" to talk about tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.

"Zelenskiy glared at Biden so much, his face expressing such genuine delight, as if this is the happiest moment in his life," Pushkov wrote in a post to his 23,000 followers. "Perhaps, seeing Biden is the highest happiness for him? After all, each to their own."

Pushkov's Telegram comments were later reported by Izvestia, which added that the meeting between the Ukrainian and U.S. leaders was not indicated in Biden's public schedule.

In 2016, Pushkov was among hundreds of key Russian figures that Kyiv placed on a sanctions list in response to Moscow's 2014 seizure of Crimea and the conflict in the Donbass region. Moscow-backed rebels have been fighting Ukrainian government forces in the area. Puskhkov was also sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014.

This week, Ukraine has complained about Russia leaving military units near its border following training exercises and has claimed that there are around 90,000 troops in the area.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry said Moscow was "transferring and accumulating military units for the purpose of maintaining tension in the region," CNN reported.

With tensions between Russia and NATO on the rise, satellite imagery has shown Russian hardware on the move at a training ground around 186 miles from the border with Ukraine, which wants to join the alliance.

On Wednesday, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. was aware of Moscow's military movement but it was "nothing overtly aggressive."

"We've seen this before," Milley added, in an apparent reference to a Russian troop buildup by the Ukrainian border earlier this year.

"What does this mean? We don't know yet, but we're continuing to monitor with all of our capabilities."

Newsweek has contacted the Ukrainian foreign ministry for comment.

Presidents Joe Biden and Volodmyr Zelensky
President Joe Biden and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy both attended COP26 in Glasgow. The pair met on the sidelines of the environmental summit. Getty