If Russia prevails in the Ukraine conflict, it may find itself in a position to launch an attack on NATO that could trigger a global conflict involving American troops, US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday, when he urged Congress to pass a $111 billion national security package.
The bill, which was backed by Democrats, included aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. He also lashed out at Republicans – who have been reluctant to support the measure due to disputes over security at the southern US border, saying that by doing so, they “are willing to give [Russian President Vladimir] Putin the greatest gift he could hope for.”
“If Putin takes Ukraine, he won’t stop there,” Biden argued. “If Putin attacks a NATO ally…, well, we’ve committed as a NATO member that we’d defend every inch of NATO territory,” he stated, adding that Washington would like to avert this kind of a stand-off because it could result in “American troops fighting Russian troops.”
However, Republicans remained unconvinced, blocking the spending package in the Senate, with the final vote being 49 in favor and 51 against. The measure was opposed by all GOP lawmakers, as well as independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who normally votes with Democrats, but this time expressed concerns about Israel’s military strategy in the conflict with Hamas. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also voted “no” in order to have a chance to reintroduce the package later.
Moscow’s ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov, commenting on Biden’s remarks about a potential clash between Russia and NATO, suggested that “such bogeyman stories are fabricated to justify to taxpayers and sober-minded political forces the huge expenses for ‘containing’ the Russian Federation.”
Washington’s speculations about a potential stand-off show that “[US] authorities have finally lost touch with reality,” he added. “This kind of provocative rhetoric is unacceptable for a responsible nuclear state.”