During the joint press conference of US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy during the latter’s first visit abroad since the Russian invasion of 24 February, Biden answered a question of a Ukrainian reporter who asked if there is a chance that Ukraine might be given all the weapons it needs to defeat Russia quickly. The reporter noted that the Patriot missile systems were thought to be too “escalatory” earlier in the war and yet Ukraine is finally receiving them today and that today Ukraine awaits ATACMS and other advanced equipment that could allow it to swiftly regain occupied land.
Biden then stressed that the US has provided Ukraine with more than $20 bn in security assistance since Russia invaded in late February, but that its success in forcing Russia to retreat hinged on the broader support from NATO and European Union allies.
“Why don’t we just give Ukraine everything there is to give? For two reasons,” he said. “One: There is an entire alliance that is critical to stay with Ukraine, and the idea that we would give Ukraine material that is fundamentally different than is already going there would have a prospect of breaking up NATO and the European Union and the rest of the world.”
Mr. Biden continued: “We’re going to give Ukraine what it needs to be able to defend itself, to be able to succeed, and to succeed on the battlefield.”
The president said that he has spent an extensive amount of time speaking with European leaders to urge them to continue their support for Ukraine, but said they do not want to go to war with Russia.
“We are staying with Ukraine as long as Ukraine is there,” Mr. Biden pledged.
However, Biden also said he was not worried about the strength of the alliance against Russia.
“I’m not at all worried about holding the alliance,” Mr. Biden said, adding that he sees “no sign” the United Nations or NATO weakening in their support for Ukraine.
“We all know what’s at stake here,” Mr. Biden said. “Putin thought he would weaken NATO. Instead, he strengthened NATO.”