President Biden: What America Will and Won’t Do in Ukraine


The invasion that Vladimir Putin thought would last for days is now in its fourth month. The people of Ukraine have surprised Russia and inspired the world with their sacrifices, their courage and their successes on the battlefield. The free world and many other countries, led by the United States, rallied behind Ukraine with unprecedented military, humanitarian and financial support.

As the war continues, I want to be clear about the objectives of the United States in these efforts.

The American objective is simple: we want to see a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression.

As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, this war “will definitely end only through diplomacy.” Every negotiation reflects the facts on the ground. We moved quickly to send Ukraine a significant amount of arms and ammunition so that it could fight on the battlefield and be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table.

That’s why I decided to provide the Ukrainians with more advanced rocket systems and ammunition that will allow them to hit key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine more accurately.

We will continue to work with our allies and partners on the toughest Russian sanctions ever imposed on a major economy. We will continue to supply Ukraine with advanced weapons, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, powerful artillery and precision rocket systems, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, Mi-17 helicopters and ammunition. We will also send billions more in financial aid, as authorized by Congress. We will work with our allies and partners to address the global food crisis that Russia’s aggression is making worse. And we will help our European and other allies reduce their reliance on Russian fossil fuels and accelerate our transition to a clean energy future.

We will also continue to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank with forces and capabilities from the United States and other allies. And just recently, I welcomed Finland’s and Sweden’s applications for NATO membership, a move that will strengthen overall US and transatlantic security by adding two democratic and highly capable military partners.

We are not looking for a war between NATO and Russia. Although I disagree with Mr. Putin and find his actions outrageous, the United States will not try to force his ouster in Moscow. Until the United States or our allies are attacked, we will not be directly engaged in this conflict, whether by sending American troops to fight in Ukraine or by attacking Russian forces. We neither encourage nor allow Ukraine to strike beyond its borders. We don’t want to prolong the war just to make Russia suffer.

My principle throughout this crisis has been “Nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine”. I will not pressure the Ukrainian government – privately or publicly – to make territorial concessions. It would be wrong and contrary to well-established principles to do so.

Talks between Ukraine and Russia have not stalled because Ukraine has turned its back on diplomacy. They are stalled because Russia continues to wage a war to take control of as much of Ukraine as it can. The United States will continue to work to strengthen Ukraine and support its efforts to reach a negotiated end to the conflict.

Unprovoked aggression, the bombing of maternity wards and cultural centers and the forced displacement of millions of people make the war in Ukraine a deep moral problem. I met Ukrainian refugees in Poland – women and children who didn’t know what their lives would be like and whether loved ones left behind in Ukraine would be okay. No person of conscience could remain indifferent to the devastation of these horrors.

Standing by Ukraine when it needs it is not just the right thing to do. It is in our vital national interest to ensure a peaceful and stable Europe and to make it clear that might does not make right. If Russia does not pay a heavy price for its actions, it will send the message to other would-be aggressors that they too can seize territory and subjugate other countries. It will jeopardize the survival of other peaceful democracies. And it could mark the end of the rules-based international order and open the door to aggression elsewhere, with catastrophic consequences around the world.

I know many people around the world are concerned about the use of nuclear weapons. We currently see no indication that Russia intends to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, although Russia’s occasional rhetoric to shake the nuclear saber is itself dangerous and extremely irresponsible. Let’s be clear: any use of nuclear weapons in this conflict, on any scale, would be totally unacceptable to us and to the rest of the world and would have serious consequences.

Americans will stay the course with the Ukrainian people because we understand that freedom does not come free. That’s what we’ve always done whenever the enemies of freedom seek to intimidate and oppress innocent people, and that’s what we’re doing now. Vladimir Putin did not expect this degree of unity or the strength of our response. He was wrong. If he expects us to weaken or fracture in the coming months, he is also mistaken.

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Post expires at 1:39pm on Saturday June 11th, 2022