Biden warns US military may get pulled into direct conflict with Russia

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President Joe Biden warned that the United States is at risk of being pulled into a direct conflict with Russia if the Kremlin succeeds in its war against Ukraine.

Biden’s statement follows Russia’s massive aerial attack across Ukraine on Friday. Kyiv air force officials said that about 110 missiles struck Ukraine, hitting hospitals, residential buildings and a shopping center. At least 31 citizens were killed in the attack and another 120 wounded, according to Ukraine officials cited by Reuters.

“Overnight, Russia launched its largest aerial assault on Ukraine since this war began,” Biden said in a statement released Friday. “It is a stark reminder to the world that, after nearly two years of this devastating war, Putin’s objective remains unchanged. He seeks to obliterate Ukraine and subjugate its people. He must be stopped.”

The 22-month-long war has raised tensions between Russia and members of the NATO alliance, who have supported Ukraine’s fight through billions of dollars in military aid and weaponry. Support for Kyiv, however, has started to waver in countries like the U.S., where Republican lawmakers have blocked sending additional funding to Ukraine unless a deal can be reached that also boosts aid for America’s immigration system.

Biden: US Could Be Pulled Into UkraineConflict
President Joe Biden waves as he departs Marine One while returning to the White House on December 19, 2023, in Washington, D.C. Biden warned in a statement on December 29, 2023, that the U.S. risks being pulled into a direct conflict with Russia if Moscow is successful in the Ukraine war.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Biden said Friday that Ukraine’s forces successfully intercepted a number of the missiles and drones launched by Russia thanks to the American-provided air defense systems at Kyiv’s disposable. He added, however, that unless congressional lawmakers take “urgent action in the new year,” the U.S. will not be able to continue to provide Ukraine with “weapons and vital air defense systems.”

Biden previously warned Republicans that withholding aid for Ukraine could pose a security threat for the NATO alliance and, subsequently, the U.S. The White House’s final aid package for Kyiv, which totaled $250 million, was announced this week.

“The stakes of this fight extend far beyond Ukraine,” Biden reiterated Friday. “They affect the entirety of the NATO alliance, the security of Europe, and the future of the transatlantic relationship.

“When dictators and autocrats are allowed to run roughshod in Europe, the risk rises that the United States gets pulled in directly. And the consequences reverberate around the world. We cannot let our allies and partners down. We cannot let Ukraine down. History will judge harshly those who fail to answer freedom’s call.”

Biden has asked Congress to pass a $110 billion aid package that would go toward Ukraine, support for Israel and other national security needs. The request has been repeatedly struck down by GOP lawmakers.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said at a news conference this month that Republicans’ “hill to die on” in negotiations with Democrats over providing additional aid to Ukraine is to establish sweeping changes to U.S. border policy. Johnson has indicated that providing additional funding to Ukraine is still a priority.

When reached for comment, Johnson’s office directed Newsweek to a statement following the speaker’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this month, during which the speaker told Zelensky “that we stand with him and against Putin’s brutal invasion. The American people stand for freedom and they’re on the right side of this fight.”

“I have asked the White House since the day that I was handed the gavel as Speaker for clarity. We need a clear articulation of the strategy to allow Ukraine to win,” Johnson added. “What the Biden Administration seems to be asking for is billions of additional dollars with no appropriate oversight, no clear strategy to win, and none of the answers that I think the American people are owed.”

Update 12/29/23, 2:32 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional comment and background from House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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Biden warns US military may get pulled into direct conflict with Russia

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