President Joe Biden expressed solidarity with Ukrainian people in his State of the Union address on Tuesday – but reiterated that the US would not deploy troops to Ukraine.
“Let each of us here tonight in this Chamber, if you’re able to stand, stand and send an unmistakable signal to Ukraine and to the world,” he said – receiving a loud standing ovation from the members, many of whom wore blue and yellow in support of Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, stood beside first lady Jill Biden as the chamber applauded, holding her country’s flag.
“We, the United States of America, stand with the Ukrainian people,” Biden said.
But he added:
“Let me be clear — our forces are not engaged and will not engage in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine,” he told members of Congress gathered for his State of the Union address. American troops were deployed to Europe not to fight in Ukraine, “but to defend our NATO allies in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west,” he said.
“For that purpose, we have mobilized American ground forces, air squadrons, ship deployments to protect NATO countries including Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia,” he added.
NATO’s Article 5: Previously, Biden has said the US would hold fast to NATO’s Article 5 principle, which says that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all member counties.
In Tuesday’s remarks, he pledged, “As I’ve made crystal clear, the United States and our Allies will defend every inch of territory of NATO countries with the full force of our collective power.”
He added that the US and its allies were providing “more than $1 billion in direct assistance to Ukraine,” including military, economic, and humanitarian aide.
Follow our live coverage of Biden’s State of the Union address here.