Biden: US Not Seeking Putin Ouster or War Btwn NATO & Russia But Will 'Stay Course' on Ukraine Aid
00:03 GMT 01.06.2022 (Updated: 18:27 GMT 03.11.2022)
Since Russia's special military operation began on February 24, the Biden administration has provided Ukraine with unprecedented financial and military aid that ramps up to over $50 billion already. This, however, falls somewhat short of what Ukraine claims it requires, as Kiev tends to increase its demands.
US President Joe Biden expressed the view that American support for Kiev in the current crisis is not intended just to hurt Russia, and that Washington does not seek to prolong the conflict in general. However, he acknowledged that the US would continue to supply even more advanced weaponry to Ukraine, limiting the arsenal to only short ranges.
In an op-ed in The New York Times published on Tuesday, the president offered a "clear" perspective on "the aims of the United States in these efforts."
Biden underscored that Washington does not seek "a war between NATO and Russia." Although the president admitted that he was displeased with the actions of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, the American commander-in-chief noted that the US "will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow."
"So long as the United States or our allies are not attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, either by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces," Biden wrote in the article. "We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We do not want to prolong the war just to inflict pain on Russia."
Remarkably, however, Biden stated that just as his administration wanted to "see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression," it will continue to provide even more lethal weaponry in the future.
The motivation behind such a decision is said to be the aim of improving the fighting chances of the Ukrainian military against the Russian forces, and ensuring that Kiev is "in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.
"That’s why I’ve decided that we will provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and munitions that will enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine," he said.
According to the president, "nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine" has been his guiding principle throughout this crisis. He stressed that he would never, privately or publicly, press the Ukrainian government to make any territorial concessions.
Biden also claimed that Ukraine's U-turn on talks with Russia was not because the country has abandoned diplomacy. Instead, the US president expressed the opinion that it was Russia's military campaign and apparent successes which prompted Kiev to back out of negotiations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier remarked that conditions on the resumption of talks that were put forth by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were "not serious," as the Zelensky has stated that talks should be held without any intermediaries and soley between himself and Putin.
Cooperation With Allies to Prolong Sanctions & Weapons Deliveries
More to the US efforts, Biden pledged to continue to work with "allies and partners" on the issue of the unprecedented Russian sanctions, which he described as the strongest ever placed on a major economy.
The president added that Washington will continue to supply advanced equipment to Ukraine, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, heavy artillery and precision rocket systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters, and ammunition.
"We will also send billions more in financial assistance, as authorized by Congress," he went on to say.
In light of the looming global food crisis due to the events in Ukraine, Biden vowed to cooperate with US allies to address it. The US will "help our European allies and others reduce their dependence on Russian fossil fuels, and speed our transition to a clean energy future," he continued.
Furthermore, the president said that the US aims to "reinforce NATO’s eastern flank with forces and capabilities from the United States and other allies." He recalled that his administration has welcomed the Nordic states Finland and Sweden's recent applications to the NATO alliance, which were effectively blocked by Turkey's objections.
Efforts Against Russia Aimed at Preventing 'End of Rules-Based International Order'
Biden went on to say that supporting Kiev is directly linked to the "vital national interest" in securing a "stable and peaceful" Europe and "to make it clear that might does not make right."
"If Russia does not pay a heavy price for its actions, it will send a message to other would-be aggressors that they too can seize territory and subjugate other countries," he offered. "It will put the survival of other peaceful democracies at risk. And it could mark the end of the rules-based international order and open the door to aggression elsewhere, with catastrophic consequences the world over."
12 May 2022, 18:23 GMT
Additionally, Biden offered reassurances to those who are worried about the possibility of a nuclear war starting because of the current crisis, stressing that the US does not have data that indicates Russia is likely to use nuclear weapons at all. However, the president also took the opportunity to call Moscow's warnings about the reality of the danger of accidental WMD use by some parties as irresponsible.
The US president also warned the world that "any use" of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be met with "severe consequences."
"Americans will stay the course with the Ukrainian people because we understand that freedom is not free," he concluded the op-ed. "That’s what we have always done whenever the enemies of freedom seek to bully and oppress innocent people, and it is what we are doing now."
$700 Million in Defense Aid to Ukraine to Be Unveiled on Wednesday
Meanwhile, a senior Biden administration official told reporters that the US government will release the eleventh security aid package for Ukraine on Wednesday, which will include High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
According to the official, the package is worth an estimated $700 million.
"The Ukrainians have given us assurances they will not use these systems against targets in Russian territory and so based on those assurances, we're very comfortable that they will not," the official added about the weaponry.
The same senior administration official further relayed to reporters that the range of munitions being provided will allow Ukrainian forces to fire at a range of 47 miles.