President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he “warned” Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow will face “severe economic pain” if it tries to attack Ukraine, but promised to keep the lines of communication open and continue talks to address Russia’s concerns about NATO’s expansion.
President Biden said he was “very straightforward” with Putin during their call Tuesday, warning the Russian leader that he will pay a heavy price if he invades Ukraine. “There were no minced words,” the President told the press line at the White House before departing for Kansas City. “It was polite, but I made it very clear. If in fact he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences, severe consequences. Economic consequences like you’ve never seen. I am absolutely confident he got the message.”
Asked by reporters if he’d ruled out U.S. troops on the ground to stop Russia, President Biden said “that’s not on the table,” saying that a U.S. obligation to protect NATO allies if they come under attack doesn’t extend to Ukraine, which is not in the Atlantic military alliance. “The idea that the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia for invading Ukraine is not in the cards right now,” the President told the press line.
To all Republicans complaining that Biden isn't tough enough with Putin:
Putin led Trump around on a leash for four years. Don’t ever forget that.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) December 7, 2021
At the same time, he said that the U.S., its allies, and Russia could sit down for talks to discuss Moscow’s grievances about NATO’s expansion.
In a sign of the changed times in the United States, Americans learned about President Biden's meeting with Vladimir Putin from the U.S. government instead of from the Kremlin. pic.twitter.com/9dsR1W27Wf
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) December 8, 2021
For his part, Putin promised that Moscow will submit its proposals for a security dialogue with the U.S. in a few days. He reaffirmed his denial of planning to attack Ukraine, but said that Moscow can’t remain indifferent to NATO’s possible expansion to its neighbor.
No matter what the outcome of the Biden-Putin virtual summit, please remember that Putin invented this "crisis" single-handedly. Nothing changed in Ukraine. Nothing changed regarding NATO policy.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) December 7, 2021
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that “it was positive that the U.S. president spoke to the Russian president,” adding that he would comment in detail on Thursday, after his own phone call with President Biden.
I have been wondering whether the American Right would support Biden or Putin over any conflict in Ukraine Now I have the answer. Autocrats prefer other autocrats. https://t.co/y9knsLyac0
— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) December 8, 2021