President Joe Biden said Wednesday that sending troops to Ukraine is “not on the table” after his high-stakes virtual summit with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
Biden told reporters, according to The Hill newspaper, that while the United States has a “moral obligation and a legal obligation” to its NATO partners if they are attacked under Article 5, that obligation does not extend to Ukraine, which is not a member but has pushed to join the alliance.
Biden told Putin Tuesday that the United States and its allies are prepared to apply potentially crippling economic sanctions against Russia if it invaded Ukraine. Some have feared such an attack could happen after Russia has stationed about 100,000 soldiers at the border it shared with Ukraine.
“I made it very clear if, in fact, he invades Ukraine there will be severe consequences like none he has ever seen,” Biden said.
Putin said at the meeting that he considers Ukraine’s entrance into NATO as a threat to Russia’s national security. He said that would guarantee a military response from the communist country.
“We are concerned over the prospects of Ukraine’s possible accession to NATO, as it will definitely result in the deployment of military contingents, bases, and weapons posing a threat to us,” Putin said, according to state-run TASS.
He said such NATO moves like missile defense systems in Poland and Romania have concerned the Kremlin.
“We have every reason to believe that the same will happen if Ukraine joins NATO, but on the Ukrainian soil,” Putin said. “How can we not think about it, it would be a criminal omission from our side: witnessing impotently what happens.”
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