President Joe Biden echoed his defense secretary’s warnings in a public address this week, emphasizing that without Congress approving $64 billion in aid to Ukraine, American troops could end up fighting Russia in Europe.
“This cannot wait. Congress needs to pass supplemental funding for Ukraine before they break for the holiday recess. It’s as simple as that,” Biden began.
He accused skeptical Republicans in Congress of being “willing to give Putin the greatest gift he could hope for and abandon our global leadership not just to Ukraine, but beyond that.”
Biden asserted that Putin has committed atrocities against Ukrainian civilians, with Russian forces engaging in war crimes: “It’s as simple as that. It’s stunning. Who is prepared to walk away from holding Putin accountable for this behavior? Who among us is really prepared to do that?”
He warned that if Putin succeeds in taking Ukraine, “he’s going to keep going.”
“If he keeps going and then he attacks a NATO Ally — well, we’ve committed as a NATO member that we’d defend every inch of NATO territory — then we’ll have something that we don’t seek and that we don’t have today: American troops fighting Russian troops,” he said.
“American troops fighting Russian troops if he moves into other parts of NATO,” he repeated.
Biden criticized those opposed to approving additional aid, stating, “Make no mistake: Today’s vote is going to be long remembered. And history is going to judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom’s cause.”
He insisted that supporting Ukraine is “in our overwhelming national interest” and in the “international interest of all our friends.”
Biden blamed “extreme Republicans” for “playing chicken with our national security” and “holding Ukraine’s funding hostage to their extreme partisan border policies.”
Biden claimed he supported “real solutions at the border” and had put forward a “comprehensive plan” on the first day of his presidency. While he expressed a willingness to make compromises on border issues, the specifics of these changes remained unclear.
Biden argued that if the U.S. didn’t support Ukraine, it would impact the country’s allies and embolden “would-be aggressors.” He mentioned that if the U.S. steps back, its European allies won’t continue providing financial support to Ukraine.
“This is too serious. And like I said, I am willing to make significant compromises on the border. We need to fix the broken border system. It is broken. And thus far, I’ve gotten no response,” he said.
Biden asserted that Republicans insisted he either accept their proposal, which he called “extreme — or nothing.”
“In the meantime, the ‘nothing’ means we don’t get any support for our friends and our — the innocent people of Ukraine,” he said.
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