President Biden told US troops in Poland Friday that they will witness the bravery of Ukrainians fighting off Russia’s invasion “when you’re there” — making a significant gaffe after he previously said the US must stay out of the European conflict to avoid triggering “World War III.”
Biden made the remark while addressing members of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division after lunching on pizza and posing for selfies with dozens of paratroopers at a mess hall in Rzeszow, southeastern Poland.
“You’re going to see when you’re there, and some of you have been there, you’re gonna see — you’re gonna see women, young people standing in the middle in front of a damned tank just saying, ‘I’m not leaving, I’m holding my ground,’” Biden said.
A White House official quickly clarified that Biden wasn’t changing his stance on deploying the military into Ukraine.
“The president has been clear we are not sending US troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position,” a Biden spokesman told The Post.
Biden also said during his remarks that the US was working to “keep the massacre from continuing” after more than 3.7 million Ukrainians fled their country during the month-old war.
The Biden administration has supplied arms to Ukraine’s beleaguered military, but the president personally nixed a Polish proposal to transfer 28 Soviet-designed fighter jets to Ukraine with US help. Biden said that US facilitation of the transaction could trigger a new world war.
Although Biden spoke as if US troops were heading into Ukraine, he repeatedly ruled out that possibility in prior public remarks.
It’s not the first time that Biden made an imprecise remark during his third trip abroad as president. During a 19-minute press conference in Belgium, Biden said Thursday that the US response to Russian troops using chemical weapons “would depend on the nature of the use” — then turned heads by saying the US would respond “in kind.”
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Friday aboard Air Force One that Biden’s “in kind” remark was not meant as a threat of the US using chemical weapons against Russia.
“The United States has no intention of using chemical weapons, period, under any circumstance,” Sullivan said.