President Joe Biden said Thursday he doesn’t foresee Vladimir Putin using nuclear weapons against Ukraine, arguing that the Russian president has already lost the war.
Biden, speaking at a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, said he doesn’t think there’s “any real prospect” of Putin using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
“Not only has the West, but China and the rest of the world has said ‘Don’t go there,’” he said.
Asked if the war in Ukraine could drag on for years, Biden said Russia doesn’t have the resources and the capacity for the war to rage indefinitely and that Putin will eventually decide “it’s not an interest of Russia, economically, politically or otherwise, to continue this war.”
“My hope is, and my expectation is, you’ll see that Ukraine makes significant progress on their offensive and that it generates in a negotiated settlement somewhere along the line,” he said.
What a settlement will look like ultimately depends on Putin, Biden said, “but there is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine. He’s already lost that war.”
Biden made his remarks on the final stop of his five-day swing through Europe in which Russia’s war against Ukraine was a top agenda item.
Biden, who arrived in Helsinki late Wednesday after stops in London and Lithuania, started the final day of his trip with a bilateral meeting with President Sauli Niinistö of Finland. Biden called Finland “an incredible asset to NATO” and joked that it took him “about three seconds” to agree to the country’s request to join the security alliance.
“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Biden said at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. “I don’t think NATO has ever been stronger.”
Also Thursday, Biden participated in a summit with the leaders of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. The summit was the third gathering of Nordic leaders over the past decade, but the first of Biden’s presidency.
Besides Russia, other topics on the leaders’ agenda included China, artificial intelligence and climate issues.
The gathering in Finland follows the annual summit of NATO leaders in Vilnius, Lithuania, where one of the key topics was the expansion of the world’s largest security alliance amid Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Finland, which shares an 832-mile border with Russia, officially joined NATO in April, ending its nearly eight-decadelong position of neutrality.
Sweden, which applied for admission into NATO last year at the same time as Finland, also appears on the verge of joining the alliance. On the eve of their summit in Lithuania, NATO leadership announced that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had withdrawn his country’s opposition to Sweden’s NATO membership, paving the way for the Nordic country to join the alliance.
Ukraine also has been pushing for NATO membership. NATO leaders said the alliance would offer an invitation to Ukraine “when the allies agree and conditions are met.” But the lack of a concrete timeframe angered Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who called it “unprecedented and absurd.”
Later, Zelenskyy applauded NATO’s decision to simplify Ukraine’s path to membership and welcomed a Group of Seven announcement of security guarantees and military aid, saying it sends a “very specific signal” of support for Ukraine.
Biden’s appearance in Finland is the first by a sitting U.S. president since Donald Trump’s controversial stop there in 2018.
After meeting with Putin in Helsinki, Trump stood at Putin’s side during a news conference, denied Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and seemed to take Putin’s word over that of U.S. intelligence officials who were pursuing criminal charges against Russian operatives.
Michael Collins and Francesca Chambers cover the White House. Follow Collins on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS and Chambers @fran_chambers.
Source : Usatoday