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The Ukraine conflict poses a grave threat to NATO security, US President Joe Biden has said, warning that Washington could be drawn in.
In a statement on Friday, Biden condemned Russia’s latest missile barrage on the neighboring country, calling it a “brutal attack” and claiming that Moscow wants to “obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people.” The Russian Defense Ministry had earlier said its forces conducted 50 “group” strikes and a single “massive” barrage in recent days, successfully hitting military infrastructure and troop positions.
Against this backdrop, the US president said that “the stakes of this fight extend far beyond Ukraine” and affect the security of both NATO and Europe. “When dictators and autocrats are allowed to run roughshod in Europe, the risk rises that the United States gets pulled in directly. And the consequences reverberate around the world,” he added.
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Reiterating that the US “cannot let Ukraine down,” he urged Congress to approve his supplemental funding request, which includes more than $60 billion for the embattled country.
Republicans have been reluctant to give the greenlight for several weeks, demanding that Biden do more to bolster security on the southern US border. Meanwhile, the White House has repeatedly warned that without congressional approval, authorized funds for Ukraine will soon run out.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Biden’s claims that Moscow could attack NATO were “complete nonsense.” He suggested that his American counterpart understood that as well, but had to cling to this narrative to justify his “misguided” policies on Russia.
In addition, Russian officials have for decades voiced concerns about the alliance’s creeping expansion, with Putin citing Ukraine’s plans to join NATO as one of the key reasons for the intervention against that country. Moscow has also repeatedly called Western countries “direct participants” in the conflict due to their arms shipments to Kiev.
Anatoly Antonov, Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, weighed in on Biden’s latest comments, saying the US reaction to the missile barrage “demonstrates the effectiveness of the special military operation.” He also described the president’s statement as an admission that Washington and its allies are “waging a hybrid war against Russia” in a fruitless campaign to defeat it on the battlefield and cripple its economy.