Biden touts ‘total unanimity’ with European leaders after call
President Biden said Monday he and European leaders are in agreement following a call to discuss strategy in response to Russia’s military build-up along the Ukrainian border.
“I had a very, very, very good meeting. Total unanimity with all the European leaders. We’ll talk about it later,” Biden said after a previously planned meeting with administration officials to discuss lowering prices.
Biden met for 80 minutes earlier Monday with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish President Andrzej Duda.
The call was arranged to discuss coordination among allies on how to approach the mounting tensions with Russia as it takes an aggressive posture toward Ukraine.
The leaders “reiterated their continued concern about the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and expressed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House said in a readout of the call.
“The leaders underscored their shared desire for a diplomatic resolution to the current tensions and reviewed recent engagements with Russia in multiple formats. The leaders also discussed their joint efforts to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine, including preparations to impose massive consequences and severe economic costs on Russia for such actions as well as to reinforce security on NATO’s eastern flank.”
Defense officials said Monday the Pentagon is readying up to 8,500 U.S. troops to potentially deploy to Eastern Europe in response to the threat of a Russian invasion as the Kremlin has amassed some 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters that there has been no decision made to deploy U.S. troops and there’s no intent to send troops to Ukraine. He said the heightened alert was “about getting troops ready” and reassuring NATO allies.
Biden and top White House officials have repeatedly warned of severe economic consequences if Russian President Vladimir Putin moves further into Ukraine.
Vice President Harris said Monday during a trip to Wisconsin that the administration is “prepared to take decisive action” if Putin “moves in an aggressive manner into Ukraine.”
“The bottom line is that we have been clear and consistent for quite some time, that we respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and we expect that Russia would do the same, and any aggressive action taken by Vladimir Putin will be met with severe consequences,” Harris said. “The ball is clearly in his court. I can’t tell you what he’s gonna do.”
–Updated at 5:57 p.m.
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