President Joe Biden said Washington would not put troops in Ukraine for now, focusing instead on other measures as Russia masses troops along Ukraine's eastern border.
If Ukraine were a NATO ally, an invasion by Russia would demand U.S. action under Article V, Biden said Wednesday, adding that unilateral military action is “not in the cards right now."
During a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Biden threatened economic sanctions but suggested a military effort from the United States would not happen. Putin has requested binding assurances that Ukraine will not join the NATO alliance.
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"The meeting with Putin was very straightforward," Biden told reporters outside the White House, adding he "made very clear if, in fact, he invaded Ukraine, there will be severe consequences,” citing economic measures.
Biden said Washington reiterated that it "would provide defensive capability to Ukrainians." The U.S. sent some additional materiel assistance "in the past few days," national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday.
Biden added that he anticipates announcing meetings with NATO soon to discuss efforts to lessen tensions along Ukraine's eastern front.
The president is expected to speak this week with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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Zelensky released a statement saying he supported the communication between Biden and Putin. Aides to both are expected to continue discussions on the issue.
"The most important thing we see now is that there is a personal real reaction and a personal role of President Biden in resolving the war in the east of our state," he wrote.