U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday called the leaders of nine NATO members in Eastern Europe and discussed the Russian military buildup and the need for a united, ready and resolute NATO stance for the collective defense of allies, according to RFE/RL.
“Biden promised the Bucharest Nine (B9), Romania, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania additional military capabilities and pledged to involve them in decisions about the region,” Lithuanian presidential adviser Asta Skaisgiryte said.
A White House statement did not mention specific military aid. It said Biden stressed a U.S. commitment to continued close consultation and coordination with transatlantic allies “as we work towards de-escalation of the current crisis through deterrence, defense and dialogue.”
The diplomacy followed Biden’s promise of meetings between envoys of Russia and major NATO allies to discuss Moscow’s concerns about Ukraine joining the alliance and the possibility of bringing down the temperature along the eastern front.
The series of calls came two days after Biden held a videoconference with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Western concerns about the presence of tens of thousands of Russian troops near Ukraine’s border.
The United States and NATO reject Putin’s demands that they guarantee Ukraine won’t be admitted to the Western military alliance.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki made it clear that Biden is hoping to resolve tensions through diplomacy and that does not include pressuring Ukraine to cede land to Russia as a means of deterring an invasion.