WASHINGTON — As President Joe Biden prepares to meet with NATO leaders in Brussels, a top administration official Sunday reaffirmed that no U.S. forces will be deployed to Ukraine despite a Polish proposal for a NATO peacekeeping mission.
United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said: "I can't preview what decisions will be made at this NATO conference and how NATO will respond to the Polish proposal, what I can say is, American troops will not be on the ground in Ukraine at this moment."
She said of a potential peacekeeping force to help the embattled country in its war with Russia, "other NATO countries may decide that they want to put troops inside of Ukraine. That will be a decision that they have to make."
Biden is scheduled to attend the NATO summit Thursday followed by a meeting with European Council leaders Friday as the United States and allied nations attempt to place diplomatic and financial pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to cease his nearly monthlong invasion of Ukraine.
Poland’s ambassador to the United States, Marek Magierowski, also on CNN, downplayed but defended his country's proposal, arguing it’s a “preliminary concept” aimed at getting the security alliance to discuss further options to respond to Putin’s “unprovoked war.”
“I think we should talk about all possibilities in order also to send a very clear signal to the Kremlin that NATO is determined to not only help the Ukrainians to defeat the Russian army, the aggressor on their soil," Magierowski said, "but also to defend our territorial integrity, our sovereignty and our freedoms."
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, when asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request for a no-fly zone is completely off the table, said allies were looking to “support Ukraine,” but not escalate tensions with Russia.
“It is extremely important that we prevent this conflict becoming a full-fledged war between NATO and Russia because that will cause much more damage, much more death, destruction than what we see now in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “Russia is a nuclear power. President Putin is now conveying very dangerous nuclear rhetoric.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” said despite Russia reportedly launching hypersonic missiles at Ukraine recently, the new weaponry does nothing to diminish the significant losses Russian ground troops have faced.
“The reason that he's resorting to using these types of weapons is because he's trying to reestablish some momentum,” Austin said of Putin. “We've seen him attack towns and cities and civilians outright. We expect to see that continue. But I don't think that this in and of itself will be a game changer. You kind of question why he would do this. Is he running low on precision-guided munitions? Does he have like complete confidence in his ability [and] the ability of his troops to reestablish momentum?”
Appearing after Austin on CBS, Ukrainian ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said her country remained open to diplomatic talks with Russia in the hopes of stopping the bloodshed.
“Negotiate does not mean to surrender,” Markarova said. “We are not ready to give up on either our dreams on the territorial sovereignty or integrity, but we are ready to negotiate even with the brutal enemy in order to stop it. And we're asking all of our friends and allies to help us to … fight successfully, but also to put all the pressure so that Russia negotiates."