President Joe Biden on Thursday warned Vladimir Putin that US forces would defend NATO territory if he expanded his offensive beyond Ukraine and said he was sending more troops to Europe.
Shortly after his speech, the Pentagon announced that 7,000 additional troops and equipment were being transferred to Germany.
In a speech at the White House, Biden introduced a new package of sanctions against Russia and promised that Putin’s country would bear the consequences of his aggression against Ukraine.
He said US troops would not engage Russian troops in Ukraine.
“Our forces are heading to Europe not to fight in Ukraine, but to protect our NATO allies and appease those allies in the east,” he said.
“As I have made clear, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with all the might of America.”
President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered more troops to be sent to Europe and warned Russia that American forces would defend NATO territory.
The Ukrainian government in Kiev reported mounting casualties as Russian troops advanced from the east, north and south.
Russian tanks pass through the city of Armyansk in northern Crimea after Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine.
A Russian T-72 tank is pictured sitting in front of the main reactor at Chernobyl after Putin’s forces captured it in a “fierce” battle, with the state of the nuclear storage facilities “unknown”.
During a question-and-answer session with reporters, he was asked if this meant American soldiers would fight if Russia attacked NATO territory.
“If he really moves to NATO countries, we will be involved,” he said. “We will participate.”
He issued the statement as the Ukrainian government in Kiev reported mounting casualties as Russian troops attacked from the east, north and south.
Ukrainian officials have said their forces have lost control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
“Russia has embarked on the path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and will not give up its freedom,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote.
Biden also held a virtual meeting with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Italy and Japan, as well as European Union figures and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Of the other important events that took place after Putin’s attack:
- Russian troops took over Chernobyl after heavy fighting, raising concerns about radioactive materials.
- World markets collapsed after the invasion, the Russian ruble fell to its lowest point ever, and the price of oil soared to over $100 a barrel.
- The EU will freeze Russian assets, stop access to the financial market and aim at the “interests of the Kremlin”
- Central European countries begin preparations to receive potentially hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing fighting in Ukraine
- UN Security Council to discuss resolution condemning invasion
- Ukraine demanded from the world to exclude Russia from the SWIFT banking system
- At least 40 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, the Ukrainian government said.
- French President Emmanuel Macron said that Russian aggression against Ukraine represents “the most serious attack on peace and stability in Europe in decades.”
Russian combat helicopter Ka-52 in the field after an emergency landing Kiev, Ukraine
In the Glukhov area, the Ukrainian military fired at an armored column of 15 T-72 tanks with American Javelin missiles.
A Ukrainian military tank takes up a defensive position at the Potemkin Stairs in the center of Odessa.
The reaction of world leaders to the war between Russia and Ukraine
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
“I have decided to launch a special military operation… to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide… for the past eight years.
“And for this we will seek the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. And bring to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.”
PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE VLADIMIR ZELINSKY
“In the morning, Russia treacherously attacked our state, as Nazi Germany did during the Second World War.
“Today, our countries are on different sides of world history. Russia has embarked on the path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and will not give up its freedom, no matter what Moscow thinks.”
NATO SECRETARY GENERAL JENS STOLTENBERG
“This is a deliberate, cold-blooded and long-planned invasion…
“Peace has been destroyed on our continent, Russia is using force to try to rewrite history and deprive Ukraine of a free and independent path…
“We have no plans to send NATO troops to Ukraine. What we do is defense.”
US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN
“President Putin has chosen a deliberate war that will bring catastrophic loss of life and human suffering…
“I will meet with G7 leaders and the US, our allies and partners will impose tough sanctions on Russia.”
PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION URSULA VON DER LEYEN
“President Putin is responsible for bringing war back to Europe…
“We will strike at strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking their access to key technologies and markets. We will weaken Russia’s economic base and its ability to modernize.”
“In addition, we will freeze Russian assets in the EU and close the access of Russian banks to the European financial market.”
HEAD OF THE EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY COMMISSION JOSEP BORREL
“This is one of the darkest hours in Europe since World War II.
“The EU will respond in the strongest possible terms and agree to the toughest package of sanctions we have ever implemented.”
GERMAN CHANCELER OLAF SCHOLZ
“Putin brings suffering and destruction to his immediate neighbors, he violates the sovereignty and borders of Ukraine.
“He endangers the lives of countless innocent people (and) … the peaceful order of our continent. There is no excuse for all this. This is Putin’s war.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON
“France strongly condemns Russia’s decision to go to war with Ukraine. Russia must immediately put an end to its military operations.”
UK PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON
“President Putin has chosen a path of bloodshed and destruction by launching an unprovoked attack on Ukraine…
“This is a disaster for our continent.”
“I am now authorizing the deployment of additional US forces in Germany as part of the NATO response, including some US-based forces that the Department of Defense placed on standby weeks ago,” Biden said.
Moments later, a Pentagon spokesman informed reporters that the Secretary of Defense had ordered 7,000 US troops to be sent to Europe. It will consist of an armored brigade, the official said.
Biden also said the US is working with other countries to release oil from global strategic reserves to control prices.
The cost of a barrel of international benchmark Brent crude oil has topped $105 after Russia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, launched an offensive.
“We are actively working with countries around the world to increase the collective release from the strategic oil reserves of major energy consuming countries,” Biden said.
“The United States will release additional barrels of oil if conditions warrant it.”
Biden acknowledged that Americans have already been hit by inflation.
“I will do everything in my power to lessen the pain the American people feel at the gas station,” he said.
“This is critical for me.
“But this aggression cannot continue without a response. If that had happened, the consequences for America would have been much worse.
“America is standing up to hooligans, we are standing up for freedom. That’s who we are.”
The invasion – a blatant attempt to redraw the map of Europe by force – marks the most concerted effort to change the world order since the end of the Cold War and risks provoking the bloodiest conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. .
Emphasizing the seriousness of the moment, Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, said: “From today, a new geopolitical reality in the world. Either Ukraine and the world will now stop the new Hitler, or there will be a third world war.”
Western leaders lined up to denounce Russia’s actions in the early hours, and security councils from around the world rallied to retaliate. Tough sanctions have followed, and more deliveries of military hardware to Ukraine are expected — provided they can find their way there.
But NATO and the US have made it clear that no troops will be sent, and the Ukrainian military, vastly inferior to Russia’s, must single-handedly deter the attack.
Few expect her to emerge victorious from a war that will almost certainly be protracted, bloody, and brutal.
NATO is expected to focus its efforts on preventing the war from spreading to neighboring countries. Poland, a member of the alliance, has an extensive land border with Ukraine. The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, also members of NATO – will now fear a Russian attack.
The Alliance began moving its forces early Thursday morning, putting 100 combat aircraft on high alert in Europe and deploying more troops to the Baltic states.
Moldova, where some Russian ground forces are already based, is also at risk of falling under Putin’s rule. From there, he could strike at Romania, another former Soviet state.
According to unconfirmed reports, Russian troops destroyed or rendered useless the Ukrainian fleet and attacked the Boryspil airport in Kiev. Access to the Black and Azov Seas was blocked.
Putin justified it all in a televised address, saying the attack was necessary to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine, a false claim the US predicted he would make as a pretext for an invasion.
He accused the United States and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demands to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and for security guarantees. He also stated that Russia did not intend to occupy Ukraine, but intends to “demilitarize” it and bring to justice those who committed the crimes.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it was not targeting cities, but using precision-guided weapons, and stated that “there is no threat to the civilian population.”