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Joe Biden tells NATO, Bucharest Nine democracy is at stake in Ukraine war

U.S. President Joe Biden warned Wednesday that democracy is at stake in the war in Ukraine as he met with NATO leaders in Poland. Photo by Polish President Press Office/UPI
1 of 6 | U.S. President Joe Biden warned Wednesday that democracy is at stake in the war in Ukraine as he met with NATO leaders in Poland. Photo by Polish President Press Office/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Calling the Eastern European countries that make up Bucharest Nine the "frontline of our collective defense" against Russia, U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday pledged the United States' continued support, particularly with Russia's war on Ukraine.

Biden talked with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and the Bucharest Nine leaders in Warsaw, Poland, as he concluded his three-day trip, which included a surprise visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.

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"You know better than anyone what's at stake in this conflict, not just for Ukraine but for the freedom of democracies throughout Europe and around the world," Biden said Wednesday. "That's what President Zelensky and I talked about when I was in Kyiv. The leaders around this table have repeatedly stepped up to confirm our shared commitment to all of these values."

The Bucharest Nine is made up of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The countries formed an alliance a year after Russia forcibly annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Biden praised Stoltenberg, saying he has done an "incredible job" for a long time and that he relies on his judgment. The president assured Stoltenberg that the United States will help "defend every inch of NATO."

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Biden said Russia's actions, representing the largest land invasion on European soil since World War II, have changed concerns on the continent and the United States will continue to be their partner in "changing things back."

On Tuesday, Biden gave an unwavering sign of support for Ukraine and countries like Poland that have supported Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

"He thought NATO would fracture and divide," Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in front of a cheering crowd in Warsaw. "Instead, NATO is more united and more unified than ever before. He thought he could weaponize energy to crack your resolve -- Europe's resolve. Instead, we're working together to end Europe's dependence on Russian fossil fuels."

Biden announced Tuesday that the United States would host NATO's 75th anniversary summit next year. He said NATO is the "strongest defensive alliance in the history of the world."

On Tuesday in his State of the Nation address, Putin announced that Russia would suspend its participation in the New START nuclear arms treaty -- its last remaining arms control agreement with the United States.

He blamed the Ukraine war on the United States and its Western allies. He said Russia had no choice but to invade Ukraine to protect its own borders.

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Biden directly responded to the criticism in his speech, calling the invasion a war of choice for Putin and Russia and said they could end it at any time.

Biden is expected to return to the White House on Wednesday night.

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