Biden claims arming Ukraine with advanced equipment could break up NATO

President Biden on Wednesday hinted at a rift in the alliance of Western nations arming Ukraine, making the alarming claim that Kiev’s access to NATO’s most advanced equipment could tear the alliance in two.

“The idea that we would give Ukraine material that is fundamentally different than what is already going there would have the prospect of breaking up NATO and the European Union,” Biden said Wednesday after being asked by a Ukrainian reporter , why the US wouldn’t give its most advanced weaponry to the war-torn nation.

“They do not seek war against Russia – they do not seek World War III,” he said.

“There’s more to say, but I’ve probably already said too much,” he added, before closing a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after a face-to-face meeting at the White House.

Biden, who used the press as an opportunity to announce an additional $1.85 billion in security aid to Kyiv — including a battery of the advanced Patriot surface-to-air missile system — claimed Ukraine would still receive the equipment it needed they needed for the fight against Russia.

US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj hold a press conference in the East Room of the White House.
US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj hold a press conference in the East Room of the White House.
AFP via Getty Images

“We will give Ukraine what it needs to be able to defend itself, to… succeed on the battlefield,” he said.

“We understand in our bones that Ukraine’s struggle is part of something much bigger.”

Zelensky, clad in his usual olive green sweater bearing the coat of arms of Ukraine, thanked Biden for his “personal efforts to unite the partners” of NATO and the EU.

Despite her apparent reluctance to give Ukraine weapons that could reach Russia, Biden said he had “never seen NATO or the EU so united on anything.”

“We all know what’s at stake, the idea of ​​sovereignty,” Biden said.

Zelensky also thanked the American people for supporting his country in the nearly 10-month war.

“I wish you peace,” Zelenskyj said. “I think that’s the main thing – and you only understand that when there’s a war in your country, when someone like these terrorists comes to your house from Russia. I wish you would see your children alive.”

He also expressed hope that billions of dollars in support would continue despite upcoming Republican control of the House of Representatives.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during the joint press conference.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during the joint press conference.
REUTERS

“Regardless of changes in Congress, I believe there will be bicameral bipartisan support [for Ukraine]’ said Zelenskyy. “We have to survive this winter, we have to protect our people.”

Asked about the prospects of a peace agreement in the coming months, Zelenskyy hesitated.

“Just peace? I don’t know what [a] there is only peace,” he said. “That’s a very philosophical description.”

“For me as President, just peace does not mean compromising my country’s sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity,” he said.

“The longer this aggression lasts, the more parents will live for revenge,” Zelenskyy continued.

“There can be no just peace in the war these have forced upon us—” he broke off.

“I don’t know how to describe them,” he said of the Russians, “because we’re in the White House and I can’t find the right language.”

The Ukrainian president finally settled on “cruel”.

Biden hinted at a rift in the western alliance.
Biden hinted at a rift in the western alliance.
AFP via Getty Images

“We both want this war to end,” Biden interjected. “It could end today if Putin had any dignity at all and just did the right thing.”

The meeting of the two leaders came on the 300th day of fighting – almost ten months of war since Russia invaded its neighbor on February 24.

Since then, Ukraine has slowly been pushing back Russian forces as Moscow has returned to its most tried-and-true tactic — bombing Ukrainian cities from afar.

Since Kiev’s forces began their largely successful counterattack in the fall, Russia has begun targeting power plants across Ukraine using cruise missiles and Iranian-made suicide drones in a bid to shut down heat, electricity and water as winter sets in.

Smoke billows from a burning building after a Russian attack in Bakhmut, Donetsk

Smoke billows from a burning building after a Russian attack in Bakhmut, Donetsk.


A US-made Patriot missile

A US-made Patriot missile.


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“Russia is using winter as a weapon — freezing people, starving people, cutting them off,” Biden said. “This is the latest example of the heinous atrocities being committed by the Russians.”

Russia’s reliance on airstrikes has recently renewed Ukrainian calls for more advanced air defense systems, including the US-made Patriot system included in Wednesday’s aid package.

The deployment of the Patriot missile system – the primary surface-to-air system in the US arsenal – has been described by Moscow as an escalation on the part of the West.

Biden speech
“The idea that we would give Ukraine material that is fundamentally different than what is already going there would have the prospect of breaking up NATO and the European Union,” Biden said.
AFP via Getty Images

Biden reacted quickly.

“It’s a defensive weapon system. It’s not escalating, it’s defensive,” he said. “We’d love it if they didn’t use it – just stop the attacks.”

Asked about the next steps, Zelensky kept up to date.

“We’re going to send another signal to President Biden that we’d like to get more Patriots,” the former comedian said, making the press laugh.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/21/biden-claims-arming-ukraine-with-advanced-gear-could-break-apart-nato/ Biden claims arming Ukraine with advanced equipment could break up NATO

JACLYN DIAZ

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