At a press conference on Wednesday, President Biden said there is “room to work” with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the guarantees Moscow is seeking on Ukraine.
Putin wants the US to guarantee that it won’t deploy missiles to Ukraine and that Kyiv won’t ever join NATO. Biden said the US and Russia can “work something out” on the missile deployments issue.
Concerning NATO, Biden signaled he wouldn’t make a commitment on Ukraine’s membership but said it’s unlikely Kyiv would be joining the military alliance anytime soon. “The likelihood that Ukraine is going to join NATO in the near term is not very likely,” Biden said.
Russia likely won’t accept a verbal pledge from Biden on NATO expansion considering the US broke a similar promise that was made at the end of the Cold War. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made it clear on Wednesday that Russia wants “watertight” guarantees on NATO expansion.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday to continue the dialogue on Moscow’s security concerns.
Biden also continued the narrative that Putin is planning to invade Ukraine, an accusation Moscow denies. “My guess is he will move in, he has to do something,” he said, adding that it would be a “disaster” for Russia to “further invade Ukraine.”
During the press conference, Biden suggested the US might do anything in the event of a “minor incursion” into Ukraine, prompting the White House to release a statement clarifying there would be a response if Russian troops enter Ukraine.
“President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” the White House said.