WARSAW (AP) — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin made a “huge mistake” by suspending his country’s participation in the last remaining U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control treaty. The US president was in Poland to reassure eastern NATO allies that the US would stand by them amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In his first comments since Putin’s announcement on Tuesday, Biden condemned Russia’s decision to withdraw from the so-called New START treaty. The decision to end Russian cooperation with the treaty’s nuclear weapons and missile tests followed Moscow’s cancellation late last year, with both sides accusing the other of violating the accord.
Biden’s comments came as he wrapped up a whirlwind, four-day trip to Poland and Ukraine with talks with leaders from the Bucharest Nine, a group of countries on the eastern flanks of the NATO alliance that came together in response to Putin’s 2014 annexation. Crimea from Ukraine.
As the war in Ukraine drags on, the concerns of the Bucharest Nine have grown. Many worry that a victory in Ukraine could prompt military action against Putin next. The alliance includes Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
“When Russia invaded, it didn’t just test Ukraine. The whole world faced a test for the ages,” Biden said in a speech Tuesday from the foot of Warsaw’s Royal Castle marking the grim milestone of a year-long Russian invasion. “Europe has been tested. America has been tested. NATO has been tested. All democracies have been tested.
Addressing the concerns of NATO members, Biden on Tuesday pledged America’s ironclad commitment to the mutual-defense pact and Ukraine’s defense.
“The appetite of dictators cannot be sated,” he said. “They must be resisted.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the right-wing populist leader, argued last week that the EU was partly to blame. For prolonging Russia’s war in Ukraine, sanctions on Moscow and blocking arms supplies to Kiev. Orban skips the meeting with Biden and is replaced by President Katelyn Novak.
However, Romania’s President Klaus Ihanis insisted that “B9 is stronger than ever”.
Putin delivered his own speech on Tuesday in which he lashed out at Ukraine and its Western allies. The Russian president also announced Moscow’s suspension Its participation in the US-Russia Arms Control Treaty. The move is expected to have an immediate impact on US views on Russian nuclear activities, but the deal was already on life support.
Biden met in Warsaw on Tuesday with Moldovan President Maia Sandu, who last week said Moscow was behind a plot to overthrow her country’s government using outside saboteurs.
The eastern European country, which includes Ukraine and Romania and one of Europe’s poorest countries, has historic ties to Russia but wants to join the 27-nation European Union. In his remarks, Biden endorsed Moldova’s bid to join the European Union.
“I am proud to stand with you and the freedom-loving people of Moldova,” Biden said of Sandu and his country in his Tuesday speech.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago, Moldova, a former Soviet republic of about 2.6 million people, has sought to build closer ties with its Western partners. Last June, on the same day as Ukraine, it was granted EU candidate status.
Chandu last week spoke of a Russian plot to “subvert the constitutional order”. He spoke after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country had intercepted plans by Russian secret services to destroy Moldova. Those claims were later confirmed by Moldovan intelligence officials.
Biden’s speech about the war in Ukraine came a day after he made a surprise visit to Kiev, a grand gesture of solidarity with Ukraine. The address was in part an affirmation of Europe’s role in helping Ukraine fend off Russia’s continued aggression and in part a stern warning to Putin that the United States would not be bound by Moscow’s defeat of Ukraine.
The White House has praised several Eastern European countries last year, including Lithuania, Poland and Romania, for stepping up efforts to support Ukraine by sending arms and economic aid and taking in refugees.
Biden has paid particular attention to Poland’s efforts. The country hosts about 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees and has provided $3.8 billion in military and economic aid. to Kiev.
“The truth of the matter is: America needs Poland and NATO as much as NATO needs America,” Biden said during talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda.