Biden Reassures Ukraine as Russian Troops Build Up

President Joe Biden told Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that the United States stands ready to respond forcefully if there is any aggression from Russia. 

An urgent drive to diplomatically defuse the ongoing military standoff happening on the Russian border with Ukraine continued today, while officials from the Pentagon issued more warnings to Russia against its continued massing of troops at that border. 

Biden reiterated that the U.S. is committed to a forceful response if Russia were to invade Ukraine. 

In a phone call with Zelensky, Biden said the U.S. and its allies are ready to respond decisively if there were to be an incursion. Biden has been considering dispatching thousands of troops to the region, and military troops were put on “high alert” for deployment earlier this week. So far, he has ruled out directly deploying more forces into Ukraine. 

In the call, Zelensky emphasized a diplomatic solution to the issue and pointed to an agreement that was made this week with Russia to return to a cease-fire. 

Russian foreign minister Sergey V. Lavrov signaled that there could be another opening for a diplomatic solution. On Friday, Lavrov said that the formal response from the U.S. to Russia on their security demands contained “a kernel of rationality”, and that there was potential for compromise.  

However, Russia also said that it is pessimistic over the likelihood of a broader deal. Russia wants to halt NATO from expanding into Eastern Europe, and also wants to block Ukraine from being admitted to the military alliance, two issues that the U.S. has deemed to be “non-starters.” 

There are still many question marks surrounding the Ukraine crisis, which has become one of the most worrisome military standoffs to happen in Eastern Europe since the Cold War ended. The biggest unknown is what intentions Russian President Vladimir Putin has, as the leader has been silent in public on the issue for over a month.

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