President Biden on Tuesday said there will be no American forces moving into Ukraine as tensions flare over the urgent threat of a Russian military incursion.
“There is not going to be any American forces moving into Ukraine,” Biden told reporters.
The U.S. and its allies have warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent as Moscow has amassed at least 100,000 troops near its border with Kyiv.
Biden’s comments come a day after the Pentagon announced on Monday that it is readying up to 8,500 troops to potentially deploy to Eastern Europe.
Most of those troops would help the NATO Response Force, a multinational force that the alliance could deploy on short notice. That force has not yet been activated.
Asked about what would lead to the deployment of the 8,500 troops, Biden said it depends on “what Putin does or doesn’t do.”
“It’s not provocative,” the president said, pointing to concerns among NATO allies in Eastern Europe about Russia’s troop buildup.
“Everyone from Poland on has a reason to be concerned about what would happen and what spillover effects could occur,” he said. “We have no intention of putting American forces or NATO forces in Ukraine. But … there are going to be serious economic consequences if he moves.”
Biden previously said sending troops directly into Ukraine was “not on the table” but said an invasion would cause the U.S. to bolster NATO’s defenses.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg similarly said Tuesday that the alliance would not be sending combat troops to Ukraine.
“NATO will not deploy NATO combat troops to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“But we need to be sure that there is no misunderstanding about our readiness, our commitment to protect and defend all allies, especially in the eastern part of the alliance,” he continued.