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11 Apr, 2024 00:12

Biden ‘very proud’ of expanding NATO to Russia’s borders

The US leader believes it would be a “disaster” if the bloc were to break up
Biden ‘very proud’ of expanding NATO to Russia’s borders

US President Joe Biden has hailed NATO’s further expansion toward Russia’s borders, while accusing Republican rival Donald Trump of undermining the unity of the American-led military bloc.

Russia has for years voiced concern about NATO’s creeping encroachment, viewing its policies as an existential threat. However, in an interview with Spanish-language broadcaster Univision that aired on Tuesday, Biden touted the recent addition of Finland and Sweden to the bloc’s ranks amid the Ukraine conflict as a great achievement.

“We’ve done something that I was very proud of. I’ve engaged with NATO for my whole career. We were able to expand NATO, and we have 2,000 miles of border because you have two Nordic nations having joined NATO. You have a whole range of NATO countries along the Russian border,” the US president said.

Biden went on to argue that a stalemate in Congress over his $61 billion military aid package for Kiev is “very dangerous” for the bloc’s unity, accusing his former US leader Trump of virtually holding the measure – and the entire Republican party – hostage.

“Trump runs that party. He maintains a sort of a death grip on it. Everybody’s afraid to take him on whether they agree with him or not, and it’s incredibly dangerous. The last thing we need is to see NATO start to break apart. It would be a disaster for the United States, a disaster for Europe, a disaster for the world,” Biden said.

The US has provided Ukraine with over $113 billion in various forms of assistance since the start of hostilities with Russia. Moscow has repeatedly condemned foreign arms shipments to Kiev, arguing they will only prolong the conflict, while making the West a direct participant in the hostilities.

Finland shares a 1,300km border with Russia, and Moscow has argued that NATO membership has threatened, not guaranteed, Finnish security. After Helsinki joined the alliance last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the creation of a new military district bordering the Nordic nation. Sweden joined the bloc last month.

Putin has warned for nearly two decades that NATO’s policies undermine Russian national security, but a real “red line” for Moscow would be an attempt to move the bloc’s forces into Ukraine. The conflict in Ukraine is an “existential” one for Moscow and a “matter of life and death,” Putin said in February, while for the West it is simply a matter of “improving its tactical positions.”

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