WASHINGTON: The White House said on Tuesday that the United States would not send troops to fight in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden “has been clear that the US will not send troops to fight in Ukraine”, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement. The statement came after the French president suggested that Western troops could be sent to Ukraine.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, asked whether the United States could send troops for other purposes such as training, said the Biden administration opposed any deployment to Ukraine.

“We’re not sending boots on the ground in Ukraine. The president’s been very clear,” Miller told reporters.

Meanwhile, President Biden warned top congressional leaders of the dire cost of failing to help Ukraine, as high-stakes talks at the White House ended without a deal.

Biden called the rare Oval Office meeting to persuade Republican House speaker Mike Johnson to unblock vital aid for Kyiv, and avoid a government shutdown at home. The leaders said they were optimistic they could keep the government’s lights on, but on Ukraine they remained deadlocked, with Johnson insisting on the need for more border reforms first.

“On Ukraine, I think the need is urgent,” said Biden, who was accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris for the meeting in front of a crackling fire in the historic office. He added that the “consequence of inaction every day in Ukraine is dire”.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Ukraine desperately needs more Western support to defeat Russia, and voiced hope the United States would approve the stalled package that includes $60 billion of weapons and other aid.

But Johnson, a Donald Trump ally who leads a razor-thin Republican majority in the House of Representatives, has refused to even allow a vote on a so-called supplemental funding bill containing the Ukraine aid.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2024

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