Biden says putting U.S. troops on ground in Ukraine is ‘not on the table’

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to journalists before walking to Marine One at the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S, December 8, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday putting American troops on the ground in Ukraine to deter a potential Russian invasion was “not on the table” and he hoped to announce a meeting with Russia and other NATO countries by Friday.

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House, Biden said he had made it clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his nearly two-hour virtual meeting on Tuesday that there would be economic consequences like none before if Russia invades Ukraine, and he is confident Putin got the message.

Biden said he hoped that by Friday there would be an announcement of high-level meetings with Russia and at least four major NATO allies to “discuss the future of Russia’s concerns relative to NATO writ large” and whether or not accommodations could be worked out as it related to “bringing down the temperature along the eastern front.”

Biden said the United States had a moral and legal obligation to defend NATO allies if they are attacked, but that obligation did not extend to Ukraine.

“That is not on the table,” Biden said when asked if U.S. troops would be used to stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sonya Hepinstall)

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