President Joe Biden has announced that if Russia decides to use chemical weapons in Ukraine, the U.S. and NATO will respond.
Biden is in Brussels meeting with European leaders to discuss the war in Ukraine, according to Axios.
During an evening news conference on Thursday, the president warned that any chemical attack by Russia would “trigger a response in kind,” The Associated Press reported.
“We’d make that decision at the time,” Biden said.
While Biden would not comment on any intelligence the U.S. may have as to whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to deploy chemical weapons, he did say “we would respond if he uses it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.”
Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of NATO, also spoke to reporters in Brussels and said that if Russia were to use chemical weapons, it would change the entire nature of the war.
“It will be a blatant violation of international law and with far-reaching consequences,” Stoltenberg said, according to CNBC.
A White House official later said Biden’s comments did not mean that the U.S. and NATO had gone back on their previous stance and were ready to put boots on the ground in Ukraine.
Biden’s comments on being ready to respond if Russia uses chemical weapons is not the only stand he has taken against Moscow during the meetings in Brussels.
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Biden said Russia should be expelled from the Group of 20 major economies, The Wall Street Journal reported.
He also pledged that the U.S. would be ready to take in up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
“The single most important thing is for us to stay unified and the world to continue to focus on what a brute this guy is,” Biden said of Putin. “And all the innocent people’s lives that will be lost and ruined.”
Additionally, the U.S. introduced new sanctions on over 400 Russian politicians, oligarchs and businesses.
This dragged China into the spotlight, as many have speculated that Beijing is keeping its economy open for Russia.
While Biden did not say whether the U.S. has any clear evidence of China helping Russia evade sanctions, he did say he was hopeful China would not get entangled in the conflict.
“I think that China understands that its economic futures much more closely tied to the West than it is to Russia,” Biden said.