Warsaw – United States President Joe Biden, standing along the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) eastern edge in Poland, issued a stern warning to Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Saturday: “Don’t even think about moving on one single inch of NATO territory.”
Biden delivered the notice during a speech in Warsaw. He said the US was committed to the collective protection obligations laid out in NATO’s charter “with the full force of our collective power”.
But Biden made clear the current conflict in Ukraine – not a NATO member – doesn’t require America to become directly involved.
“American forces are not in Europe to engage in conflict with Russian forces, American forces are here to defend NATO allies,” he said.
Biden, also said that Russia has “strangled democracy” in its invasion of Ukraine and called out Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lies in justifying the war.
“Over the last 30 years, the forces of autocracy have revived all across the globe. Its hallmarks are familiar ones: contempt for the rule of law, contempt for democratic freedom, contempt for the truth itself,” Biden said.
“Today, Russia has strangled democracy and sought to do so elsewhere, not only in his homeland. Under false claims of ethnic solidarity, he’s invalidated neighbouring nations. Putin has the gall to say he’s ‘denazifying Ukraine.’ It’s a lie. It’s just cynical. He knows that. And it’s also obscene. President Zelensky was democratically elected. He’s Jewish. His father’s family was wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust. And Putin has the audacity, like all our autocrats before him, to believe that might will make right,” he said.
Biden then referenced US President Abraham Lincoln, who said “right makes might”.
The US President also addressed the Russian president’s criticism of NATO.
“A criminal wants to portray NATO enlargement as an imperial project aimed at destabilising Russia. Nothing is further from the truth. NATO is a defensive alliance. It has never sought the demise of Russia,” Biden said.
Putin made the choice to engage in war, Biden said.
“It’s nothing less than a direct challenge to the rule-based international order established since the end of World War II, and it threatens to return to decades of war that ravaged Europe before the international rule-based order was put in place. We cannot go back to that. We cannot,” he said.
He then outlined steps to stymie Russia, including sanctions and other economic actions. (CNN)