President Joe Biden said Thursday the U.S. or NATO “would respond” if Russian President Vladimir Putin uses chemical weapons in Ukraine.
Biden, speaking during a press conference in Belgium, was asked Thursday whether the administration has gathered “specific intelligence” regarding chemical weapons being under consideration for use or already used by Putin in Ukraine. The president was also asked whether the U.S. or NATO “would respond with military action” if Russia did use chemical weapons.
“We would respond,” Biden said after declining to answer the first question. “We would respond if he uses it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.”
The president declined to specify what kind of a response Russia would be met with. When asked to clarify his answer later on in the press conference, Biden noted that the use of chemical weapons “would trigger a response in kind.”
“You’re asking whether NATO would cross — we’d make that decision at that time,” Biden said.
The Biden administration previously ruled out sending U.S. troops into Ukraine. The administration also denied a push from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for a no-fly zone over the country, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki noting this essentially would “require us potentially shooting down Russian planes.”
“We are not interested in getting into World War Three,” Psaki said during a March 16 press briefing. (RELATED: Biden Warns Of ‘Evolving Intelligence’ Surrounding Possible Russian Cyberattacks)
Biden offered up some details of his meeting with world leaders in Belgium on Thursday as well, noting that the possibility of removing Russia from the Group of Twenty (G20) major economies had been discussed.
The president said he believes Russia should be removed from the group, but added that the decision will ultimately be up to all member countries. If removing Russia “can’t be done,” the president said he suggested that Ukraine should also be allowed to attend meetings.