PHILADELPHIA — President Biden forcefully insisted Friday that he will not send U.S. troops into Ukraine to fight Russia, saying such an action would amount to World War III.
“The idea that we are going to send offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews — don’t kid yourself, no matter what you all say — that’s called World War III,” he told a gathering of Democrats in Philadelphia. “Let’s get it straight here, guys.”
Mr. Biden and other NATO leaders have declared repeatedly that they will not send military forces into Ukraine to fight the Russian army, despite their support for Kyiv in the war. Mr. Biden has deployed thousands of troops to eastern European countries near Ukraine before and during the invasion to reassure NATO allies and assist with the refugee crisis.
The U.S. and NATO have provided Ukraine — which is not a member of the Western military alliance — with arms, including anti-tank weapons such as Javelin missiles.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Western nations about joining the two-week-old war in Ukraine, hinting darkly that the Kremlin might resort to nuclear war against countries that try to intervene.
“I want to be clear though, we are going to make sure that Ukraine has the weapons to defend themselves against an invading Russian force,” Mr. Biden said at the House the Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Philadelphia. “And we will send money and food aid to save Ukrainian lives. We’re going to welcome Ukrainian refugees with open arms if, in fact, they come all the way here.”
SEE ALSO: Russia, Ukraine both still have most of their weapons after two weeks of fighting
But he emphasized that no U.S. troops will be sent into Ukraine.
“We will not fight the Third World War in Ukraine,” he said.
The Biden administration and NATO have already taken some steps to avoid direct conflict with Russia over Ukraine.
For example, Mr. Biden has ruled out establishing a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine, fearing that it would be required to shoot down Russian jets that enter the zone. It also objected to a Polish plan to provide Ukraine with fighter jets, saying the move could also lead to a direct confrontation with Russia.