On a recent trip to Europe, Vice President Joe Biden reasserted the bedrock principle of a Europe whole and free in which borders are honored, no spheres of influence exist, and every sovereign nation has the right to choose its own alliances.
For many years, NATO invested in its relationship with Russia, hoping the country would one day emerge as integrated into the world economy, more prosperous, and more invested in the international order. “Unfortunately,” said Vice President Biden, “President [Vladimir] Putin has chosen a different path.” Instead, the world has witnessed increased repression in Russia. Beyond its borders, Russia has violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
In the face of Russian actions, the U.S. and its allies must remain resolute that no country should ever again be able to redraw the map of Europe by force. As long as Russia continues its current course in Ukraine, the international community will continue to impose costs. A peace agreement is worth pursuing if Russia adheres to it. But too many times, said Vice President Biden, “President Putin has promised peace, and delivered tanks, troops and weapons. So, [the U.S.] will continue to provide Ukraine with security assistance, not to encourage war but to allow Ukraine to defend itself.”
It is fully within the power of Moscow, said Mr. Biden, “to stop the separatists from pursuing the military solution. . . .The trained fighters, they are directly answerable to Mr. Putin.”
The collective objective of the U.S. and its European allies, said Mr. Biden, must be to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine; to reassert the principle that borders are inviolate and nations have the right to choose their own alliances.