Biden: Putin suspending US arms deal ‘big mistake’

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin made a “big mistake” by suspending his country’s participation. In the last remaining US-Russia nuclear arms control treaty. The US president was in Poland to reassure eastern NATO allies that the US would stand by them amid Russian aggression in 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 move is expected to have an immediate impact on the United States’ view of Russian nuclear activities, but the accord was already on life support after Moscow canceled talks late last year aimed at saving the accord, which both sides accused the other of violating. .

“It was a big mistake,” Biden said.

The president’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 formed in response to Putin’s 2014 Annexation of 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.

“You are at the forefront of our collective security,” Biden said Wednesday. “And you know better than anyone, what is at stake in this conflict? Not only for Ukraine, but for democratic freedoms throughout Europe and the world.

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He vowed that NATO’s mutual-defense treaty was “sacred” and that “we will literally defend every inch of NATO.”

A day earlier at the foot of Warsaw’s Royal Castle, marking a grim milestone in the year-old Russian invasion, Biden warned that Russian aggression, if unchecked, would not stop at Ukraine’s borders. “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”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who attended the meeting, said, “We don’t know when the war will end, but when it does, we must ensure that history does not repeat itself.”

“We cannot allow Russia to continue chipping away at European security. We must break the cycle of Russian aggression,” he said, pointing to past Russian actions in Georgia and Ukraine.

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.

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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 repel Russia’s ongoing invasion and in part a stern warning to Putin that the US will not bind Moscow to defeating 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 fact of the matter is: America needs Poland and NATO as much as NATO needs America,” Biden said during talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

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