Biden says US won’t send troops unilaterally

US President Joe Biden chats with Russian President Vladimir Putin virtually amid Western fears Moscow is considering attacking Ukraine, during a secure video call from the White House situation room in Washington, States United, December 7, 2021.

The White House via Reuters

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said on Wednesday his administration had no plans to send US troops to Ukraine amid an alarming military build-up by Russia on its shared border.

“Unilateral troops in Ukraine are not on the table,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “If you invade Ukraine, there will be serious consequences. Economic consequences. He knows it,” the president said, referring to what he said to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their two-hour call. the day before.

Biden said that instead of a deployment of US troops in Ukraine, his administration would work to strengthen the US military presence in NATO countries.

In a Kremlin reading of the call between the two leaders, Putin stressed to Biden that NATO is responsible for escalating tensions at Russia’s borders and accused the 30-member alliance of building armies in states adjacent to Russia.

Even though the Kremlin rejected suggestions that Moscow was preparing for an attack on Ukraine, Putin told Biden during the call that Ukraine’s NATO candidacy should be turned down in return for it. assurance that Russian troops would not strike.

Biden did not accept Putin’s “red lines” on Ukraine during their high-stakes video call on Tuesday.

Ukraine has sought acceptance into the alliance since 2002, where an attack on a member country is seen as an attack on all. Russia has defended its right to deploy troops on its own territory.

The Kremlin has previously called NATO’s eastward expansion a direct security threat, arguing that Ukraine’s acceptance into the alliance could lead to NATO troop movements across the border. Russia.

Ukraine has warned Washington and its European allies for weeks that Russian troops are massing along its eastern border, a development that mimics Moscow’s 2014 invasion of Crimea. Annexation of the Sea Peninsula Noire sparked an international outcry and triggered a series of sanctions against Moscow.

The Biden administration is eager to convey to Russia and the world that it is ready to be tougher this time around, compared to 2014, when Russian forces annexed Crimea.

“What we did not do in 2014 we are prepared to do now,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday in the wake of the call.

When asked specifically what measures the United States was prepared to impose, Sullivan declined to expand.

Sullivan added that the White House was working closely with European allies, experts from the Treasury Department, the State Department and the National Security Council on a range of economic and political countermeasures.

The State Department said on Wednesday that European Council President Charles Michel had agreed during a call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the United States and the European Union should “impose swift and severe costs on Russia if it intensifies its aggression in Ukraine ”.

“Secretary Blinken and President Michel reaffirmed the support of the United States and the European Union for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” according to a reading of the appeal.

The two also shared their concerns about Russia’s growing military presence around Ukraine and stressed the need for Russia to defuse and return to diplomacy.

Christi C. Elwood