President Biden on Friday called again for Congress to approve more spending on the war in Ukraine, claiming that if Russian President Vladimir Putin is successful in its war, it could risk pulling the US into a direct confrontation with Russia.
Biden made the comments in a statement on a Russian attack on Ukraine that was said to be the largest of the war. According to Ukrainian authorities, Russia fired over 150 missiles and drones across the country and killed 31 people.
Biden said Ukraine was able to intercept some missiles with US-provided air defenses and added that “unless Congress takes urgent action in the new year, we will not be able to continue sending the weapons and vital air defense systems Ukraine needs to protect its people.”
The president claimed that the stakes of the war extend beyond Ukraine to the US’s European NATO allies. “When dictators and autocrats are allowed to run roughshod in Europe, the risk rises that the United States gets pulled in directly,” he said.
Biden and other officials in his administration have been using this argument in their pitch to approve the over $60 billion they’re seeking to fund the proxy war in Ukraine for another year. The central claim is that if Putin wins in Ukraine, he will move into a NATO country next. But there’s no indication Russia wants a fight with the alliance, which could quickly spiral into nuclear war.
Putin recently responded to the claim, calling the idea that he has his eyes on NATO territory “nonsense.”
“Russia has no reason, no interest — no geopolitical interest, neither economic, political nor military — to fight with NATO countries,” the Russian leader said.
On Saturday, in response to the Russian attack, Ukraine fired missiles into Russia, killing 21 people in the Belgorod Oblast, the largest Ukrainian attack on Russian territory of the war. Russian officials have alleged Ukraine used a Czech-made multiple-launch rocket system and fired missiles into Belgorod equipped with cluster bombs, which scatter small submunitions over a large area and are notoriously harmful to civilians.