WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he was not considering unilaterally sending U.S. troops to Ukraine, a day after he met virtually with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies," Biden said, adding that the obligation did not extend to Ukraine.
"It would depend on what the rest of the NATO countries were willing to do as well. The idea that the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not in the cards right now," he added.
In a roughly two-hour call on Tuesday, Biden warned Putin that Russia would face severe economic sanctions if it invaded Ukraine. Biden also informed Putin that the U.S. would provide additional defense materials to Ukraine and build up military capabilities in nearby countries that also border Russia.
Putin has moved more than 90,000 troops to the Ukrainian border in recent weeks, and Biden administration officials have said that they believe Russia could be preparing to invade Ukraine.
Putin has called on Biden to commit to not allow Ukraine to join NATO. Ukraine has long sought membership, but Putin has strongly opposed any eastern expansion of NATO. Biden has said that he would not agree to any red lines set by Russia.
Biden said Wednesday that he expected the U.S. would continue to have high-level meetings between Russia and key U.S. allies to "discuss the future of Russia's concerns relative to NATO writ large, and whether or not we can work out any accommodations as it relates to bringing down the temperature along the eastern front."
Biden said that he was "straightforward" but "polite" in Tuesday's meeting.
"But I made very clear: If in fact he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences," Biden said. "Economic consequences like none he has ever seen."