President Joe Biden arrived in Poland on Friday, the epicenter of the millions fleeing their homeland, and his presence in Europe to meet with US service members and refugees sent a strong message that NATO is united against Russia’s violent aggression.
In a briefing at Rzeszów on the humanitarian response to the ongoing crisis, Biden again called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” while the State Department announced its official assessment this week that Russian forces had committed war crimes in Ukraine.
“All we can do from the beginning is to keep democracy united in our opposition and our efforts to reduce the destruction that is happening at the hands of someone I clearly think is a war criminal,” Biden said. Polish President Andrzej Duda and USAID Administrator Samantha Powers. “I think it will also meet its legal definition.”
Biden’s schedule was somewhat delayed on Friday after Polish President Rodrigo Zorro returned to Warsaw for an emergency landing.
Earlier, Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin welcomed members of Rzeszów’s 82nd Airborne Division to thank them for their service – and left for a piece of pizza.
“Thank you so much, thank you so much for what you do. And you are the best fighting force in the world, not the world – not the world-advised hyperball. It’s not hyperball,” Biden told Room.
But the president also raised eyebrows when he told the group that American troops would go to Ukraine, although he has repeatedly said he would not send troops there.
“You know, with the Ukrainian people, the Ukrainian people have a lot of backbone, they have a lot of courage and I’m sure you’re watching it,” Biden said. “And you’re going to see when you’re there, and some of you are going to be there. You’re going to see, you’re going to see women, young men standing, standing in the middle, in front of a curse tank, just saying I’m not leaving. I’m on my ground. They’re incredible. But they take a lot of inspiration from us. “
Asked to clarify Biden’s remarks, a White House spokesman told ABC News: “The president has made it clear that we are not sending troops to Ukraine and that there is no change in that position.”
Biden also told Room that the issue they are working on is “much more than whether you can alleviate the suffering and suffering of the Ukrainian people.”
“What is at stake, and not just what we are doing here in Ukraine to help the people of Ukraine and prevent the genocide from continuing, is also at stake … what your children and grandchildren will see as they, their , In terms of their freedom. “
Raising his familiar line between the current struggle between dictatorship and democracy, Biden told the troops that what they were doing was “really consequential” and went beyond helping the Ukrainians from this attack.
“The thing is you are the best – it’s not hyperbole. You are the best fighting force in the history of the world. I say again, the best fighting force in the history of the world. Part of the reason is that you have had to fight so much for the last 20 years. In reality,” he said.
He also raised his late son Beau, saying, “The proudest thing he’s ever worn is that uniform. Like many of you, he doesn’t have to go,” Biden said.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed early Friday that the president would meet with refugees on Saturday while he was in Warsaw and deliver a “keynote speech” before his departure.
“He will have the opportunity to meet with Ukrainian refugees and American humanitarians who are trying to meet and respond to the material needs of the refugee population in Warsaw,” Sullivan told reporters at Air Force One. “And he will give a keynote speech tomorrow that will address the turning point, the urgency of the challenges ahead, what the Ukraine conflict means to the world and why it is so important to maintain a free world unity and resolve in the face of Russian aggression,” Sullivan added. .
War is raging in neighboring Ukraine.
In one of the worst attacks so far, the city council of the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol said a devastating bomb blast at its theater had killed 300 people, with hundreds taking refuge. The ground on both sides of the building was marked with the word “child” written in giant Russian letters.
Biden and leaders of 29 other NATO member states gathered in Brussels on Thursday to show solidarity against the Russian attack.
Biden has announced new sanctions against Russia, targeting the Duma majority, lower house of parliament, more than 40 Russian defense agencies and more Russian oligarchs. He also announced that the United States would provide 1 billion in humanitarian assistance inside Ukraine and to support those affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine. These funds will go to food, shelter, clean water, medical supplies and other assistance.
By pressuring the United States and NATO on what Russia will do if it uses chemical weapons in Ukraine, Biden will not specify or confirm that Vladimir Putin is carrying chemical weapons to Ukraine, but they will “respond” and “the nature of the response will depend on the nature of the use.”