Democrat President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he is working to address Russia’s “concerns” about NATO and is trying to find “any accommodations” he can for them to avoid conflict, a signal likely to be interpreted as weakness by America’s other enemies.
“In the meeting with Putin, I was very straightforward. There were no minced words,” Biden claimed. “It was polite, but I made it very clear: If, in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences — severe consequences — and economic consequences like none he’s ever seen or ever have been seen, in terms of being imposed.”
“His immediate response was he understood that. And I indicated that I knew he would respond. But beyond that, if, in fact, we would probably also be required to reinforce our — our presence in NATO countries to reassure particularly those on the eastern front,” he added. “In addition to that, I made it clear that we would provide the defensive capability to the Ukrainians as well.”
“We hope by Friday we’re going to be able to say and announce to you that we’re having meetings at a higher level, not just with us but with at least four of our major NATO Allies and Russia to discuss the future of Russia’s concerns relative to NATO writ large and whether or not we can work out any accommodations as it relates to bringing down the temperature along the eastern front,” Biden said.
Biden said that he would not put U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine to stop a Russian invasion of the country, saying, “that is not on the table.”
“We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO Allies, if they were to attack under Article Five. It’s a sacred obligation,” Biden added. “That obligation does not extend to NATO — I mean, to Ukraine. But it would depend upon what the rest of the NATO countries are willing to do as well. But the idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia from invading Ukraine is not on — in the cards right now. But what will happen is: There will be severe consequences.”
Russia is reportedly preparing to launch a massive invasion into Ukraine, as soon as within upcoming weeks, with up to 175,000 troops, armor, and artillery. Experts warn that Russia is seeking to take advantage of “weakness” from Biden.
“The Kremlin has been moving troops toward the border with Ukraine while demanding Washington guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO and that the alliance will refrain from certain military activities in and around Ukrainian territory,” The Washington Post reported. “While Ukrainian assessments have said Russia has approximately 94,000 troops near the border, the U.S. map puts the number at 70,000 — but it predicts a buildup to as many as 175,000 and describes extensive movement of battalion tactical groups to and from the border ‘to obfuscate intentions and to create uncertainty.’”
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