Biden and Macron: key takeaways for Ukraine from their meeting

December 2,2022 459
Biden and Macron: key takeaways for Ukraine from their meeting

U.S. President Joe Biden said he would talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin if the latter expresses a desire to end his invasion of Ukraine but would only do so in consultation with NATO allies, The New York Times reports.

“I’m prepared if he’s willing to talk to find out what he’s willing to do,” Biden said during a news conference at the White House following his meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France. “But I’ll only do it in consultation with my NATO allies. I’m not going to do it on my own.”

Ahead of their briefing, the two presidents published a joint statement, of which the section dedicated to Ukraine is quoted below.

The POTUS condemned Putin for the invasion of Ukraine, calling the Russian president’s actions “sick,” and stressed the unity being shown by the two countries opposing the invasion.

“Today, we reaffirm that, as I said, we’re going to stand together against this brutality,” Biden said. “And we’ll continue strong support for the Ukrainian people as they defend their homes and their families and their nurseries, their hospitals, their sovereignty, their integrity, and against Russian aggression.”

Supporting Ukraine is about “our values,” President Macron said in English and made it clear that abandoning the full respect of these principles would mean no stability in this world.

“We will follow up our own support [of Ukraine]. We increase our military support. We increase our economic support. We are increasing our humanitarian support,” Macron said. “Let me tell you that we will never urge Ukrainians to make a compromise that will not be acceptable for them because they are so brave and they defend precisely their lives, the nation and our principles […] If we want a sustainable peace, we have to respect Ukrainians to decide the moment and the conditions in which they will negotiate about their territory and their future.”

“Today, we reaffirm that France and the United States, together with all our allies, all our NATO allies and the European Union, the G7, stand as strong as ever against Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine. We talked a lot about that in our bilateral meeting, and we’re continuing a strong support to the people of Ukraine as they defend their homes and their families, and their sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russian aggression, which has been incredibly brutal. I knew Russia was, but I didn’t anticipate them being as brutal as they gave been,” Biden said.

“Putin thinks that he can crush the will of those oppose his imperial ambitions by attacking civilian infrastructures in Ukraine, choking off energy to Europe, and to drive up prices, exacerbating the food crisis. That’s hurting very vulnerable people, not just in Ukraine, but around the world. And he’s not going to succeed,” the POTUS also said.

Joint Statement Following the Meeting Between President Biden and President Macron (excerpt)



The Presidents strongly condemn Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine and stress that intentionally targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure constitutes war crimes whose perpetrators must be held accountable. They also condemn and reject Russia’s illegal attempted annexation of sovereign Ukrainian territory, in clear violation of international law. The United States and France deplore Russia’s deliberate escalatory steps, notably its irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its disinformation regarding alleged chemical attacks, and biological and nuclear weapons programs. They reaffirm their nations’ continued support for Ukraine’s defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, including the provision of political, security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine for as long as it takes. This includes the provision of significant resources to support Ukrainian civilian resilience through the winter, including stepping up the delivery of air defense systems and equipment needed to repair Ukraine’s energy grid. The United States and France plan to continue working with partners and allies to coordinate assistance efforts, including at the international conference taking place in Paris on December 13, 2022. They also intend to continue providing robust direct budget support for Ukraine, and to urge the international financial institutions to scale up their financial support.

The United States and France reiterate their duty to uphold applicable international obligations and the principles and purposes of the UN Charter. They also reiterate their steadfast resolve to hold Russia to account for widely documented atrocities and war crimes, committed both by its regular armed forces and by its proxies, including mercenary entities such as Vagner and others, through support for international accountability mechanisms, including the International Criminal Court, the Ukrainian prosecutor general, UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry, and the OSCE Moscow Mechanism, sanctions, and other means.

The United States and France remain committed to addressing the wider effects of Russia’s war, including working with the international community to build greater resilience to food and energy disruptions.


Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times

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