President Biden said Wednesday putting U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine to deter a potential Russian invasion “was not on the table.”
Mr. Biden, speaking with reporters before he left to deliver a speech on infrastructure in Kansas City, also said that he hoped to have a meeting with Russia and with NATO allies by Friday.
“That is not on the table,” Mr. Biden responded when asked about deploying U.S. troops to Ukraine.
“We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies if they were to attack under Article 5. It’s a sacred obligation. That obligation does not extend to … Ukraine,” he said. “But it would depend upon what the rest of the NATO countries were willing to do as well.
“But the idea that the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not in the cards right now. What will happen is there will be severe consequences,” he said.
Mr. Biden also said that he hoped high-level meetings with Russia and at least four major NATO allies would be announced by the end of the week.
They would “discuss the future of Russia’s concerns relative to NATO writ large” and whether or not countries could lower tensions along the Ukraine border.
Mr. Biden’s remarks come the day after his video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss avoiding war over Ukraine.
During the two-hour chat, Mr. Biden told his Russian counterpart that the U.S. would respond more stringently than the last time Russia marched into Ukraine and seized Crimea in 2014.
Mr. Biden told Mr. Putin “directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures,” Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, told reporters after the Tuesday call.
Despite the tough talk, there appeared to be no immediate breakthrough while thousands of Russian troops amassed along the Ukraine border.
U.S. intelligence officials have warned that Russia could be planning a multipronged offensive in Ukraine in early 2022, the Washington Post reported.
Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksil Rezinkov said last week that Moscow may be preparing for a large-scale military invasion at the end of January.
Russian officials have insisted they have no plans to invade Ukraine and say the troops are there for military exercises.