President Biden wrote an op-ed for The New York Times where he sought to clarify his policy on Ukraine. In the piece, the president said that he is not seeking a war between Russia and NATO or regime change in Moscow.
“We do not seek a war between NATO and Russia. As much as I disagree with Mr. Putin, and find his actions an outrage, the United States will not try to bring about his ouster in Moscow,” Biden wrote.
“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,” he added.
While Biden insists he doesn’t want war with Russia, he also said that he has decided to give Ukraine “more advanced rocket systems and munitions,” likely a reference to the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) Ukraine has been requesting for months. The MLRS is capable of firing rockets up to 190 miles, but the White House has said the US won’t send long-range rockets capable of striking Russian territory.
Instead, Ukraine will likely receive MLRS systems and munitions that can reach targets at about 40 miles, which is still a major escalation of US military aid for Ukraine. The M777 Howitzers the US has provided Ukraine are capable of hitting targets about 15 miles away.
In the op-ed, Biden said he is not encouraging Ukraine to launch attacks on Russian territory. “We are not encouraging or enabling Ukraine to strike beyond its borders,” he said. Biden also claimed that the US is not trying to prolong the war to “inflict pain on Russia” but also said Moscow must pay a “heavy price” for launching its invasion. His Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin, has said one of the US’s goals in Ukraine is to see a “weakened” Russia.
After over three months of the war, the Biden administration has shown little interest in pushing for negotiations to end the fighting and has abandoned diplomacy with Moscow. Biden said the role of the US when it comes to the negotiations is not to pressure Ukraine to make concessions, but to arm Kyiv so it has more leverage.
“We have moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of weaponry and ammunition so it can fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table,” he said.
Biden said he will continue to support Ukraine by working with allies to escalate sanctions on Russia and send billions more in weapons. The US is expected to announce a new arms package for Ukraine this week that will be pulled from the $40 billion in new Ukraine aid Biden recently signed into law.