Russo-Ukrainian War 5/31/22

President Joe Biden talks on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Thursday, April 14, 2022, in the Oval Office. (Image via Adam Schultz)

President Biden wrote an opinion article for the New York Times, clearing up previous statements that had seemingly deferred the donation of rocket artillery to Ukraine. Also listed were Javelins, Stingers, ‘powerful artillery’ (presumably M777 Howitzers), precision rocket systems, radars, UAVs, Mi-17 helicopters, and ammunition, along with financial assistance to help Ukraine and alleviate the global food crisis. It is alleged that the United States and Ukraine have reached an agreement regarding the usage of rocket artillery, with promises that they would not be used on Russian territory. It is not immediately clear whether Crimea is included under these agreements.

Biden also welcomed Finland and Sweden’s move to join the NATO alliance while re-iterating his commitment to peace with Russia. However, Biden made clear that Russia’s use of nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine would have ‘severe consequences.’ Though he shared that the U.S. did not assess that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine (and raised concerns on Russian state media’s nuclear warmongering), the commitment to a serious response, however vague, draws a clear line for Russia’s leadership to decide upon should they consider a nuclear strike on Ukraine. He made clear that the United States would not pressure Ukraine for a diplomatic resolution that involved concessions and that peace accords would only come with the consent of the Ukrainian people.

For all his gaffes, Biden is a wise politician, and he presents thoughts that may outpace his words when speaking far more clearly in type. In light of strong statements by Eastern Europe and Britain and a position of leadership that the E.U. has taken as a response to Ukraine, Biden’s calm but supportive rhetoric has prevented Russia from successfully framing the war as a U.S. proxy war. With European Allies representing NATO in meetings with Putin and allowing the E.U. to run its course against Russia with encouragement from the sidelines, Biden’s administration has been able to navigate the mired foreign policy that many agree the U.S. has brought upon itself through years of intervention.

In Ukraine, Russia has likely managed to secure Sievierodonetsk. It is not immediately clear whether fighting continues or if Ukrainian forces have retreated to the Siverskyi Donets river.

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