(CNSNews.com) – President Joe Biden told ABC News on Friday, it’s up to Ukraine to decide how the war ends; only the “MAGA crowd” is questioning the billions of dollars Biden is spending on the war; Ukraine “doesn’t need F-16s now”; and if Russian President Vladimir Putin likes the Chinese peace proposal, “how could it be any good?”
“What do you make of this Chinese peace plan floated overnight that Putin is now applauding today? ABC’s David Muir asked Biden.
“I think you answered the question,” Biden responded.
“Putin’s applauding it, so how could it be any good? I’m not being facetious. I’m being deadly earnest. I’ve seen nothing in the plan that would indicate that there is something that would be beneficial to anyone other than Russia if the Chinese plan were followed.
“It’s the idea that China is going to be negotiating the outcome of a war that’s a totally unjust war for Ukraine is just not rational.”
As CNSNews.com reported, the 12-point paper presented by China covers many of the same basic arguments China has been putting forward since shortly after the invasion began, including statements about the need to:
— respect the sovereignty of all countries;
— promote “equal and uniform application of international law”;
— abandon “Cold War mentality” and refrain from pursuing security at the expense of others;
— implement a ceasefire and resume direct dialogue;
— protect civilians and prisoners of war;
— safeguard nuclear facilities;
— facilitate grain exports; stabilize supply chains;
— and support post-conflict reconstruction.
It also calls for “all parties” to stop “fanning the flames and aggravating tensions,” and for an end to “unilateral” sanctions – that is, those not authorized by the Security Council, where both Russia and China have veto power.
What the “political settlement of the Ukraine crisis” document does not do is call on Russia to withdraw its troops from its neighbor’s sovereign territory, or to reverse its purported annexation of parts of that territory now under control of its armed forces.
Biden told Muir that the U.S. “would respond” if China provides lethal aid to Ukraine:
“I had a very frank conversation with President Xi this past summer on this issue, and I pointed out to him, without any government prodding, 600 American corporations left Russia from McDonald’s to Exxon to across the board.
“And I said, and if you are engaged in the same kind of brutality by supporting the brutality that’s going on, I said, you may face the same consequence. I don’t anticipate — we haven’t seen it yet, but I don’t anticipate a major initiative on the part of China providing weaponry to — to — to Russia.”
Biden would not predict how the war ends. “But here’s what we have to do in the meantime,” he said. “We have to put the Ukrainians in a position where they can make advances this spring and summer and move to a place where a negotiated…they can negotiate from a position of strength.”
Muir noted that U.S. aid to Ukraine now totals at least $113 billion so far. “Many” Americans are asking, “how long can we spend like this?” Muir told the president:
“Well, first of all, I’m not sure how many are asking that,” Biden said.
“I know the MAGA crowd is. The right-wing Republicans are, you know, talking about, we can’t do this. We find ourselves in a situation where the cost of doing — of walking away could be considerably higher than the cost of helping Ukraine maintain its independence,” Biden said.
Biden said “for now,” the U.S. will not be sending Ukraine the F-16 fighter jets President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is requesting.
“Look, we’re sending him what our seasoned military thinks he needs now,” Biden said. “He needs tanks. He needs artillery. He needs air defense, including another HIMARS. There are things he needs now that we’re sending him to put him in a position to be able to make gains this spring and this summer going into the fall.
“You don’t think he needs F-16s now?” Muir asked.
“No, he doesn’t need F-16s now,” Biden said. Then he seemed to indicate that the war could go on for years, telling Muir, “Look, first of all, the idea that we know exactly what’s going to be needed a year or two, three from now — but there is no basis upon which there is a rationale, according to our military now, to provide F-16s.
“I am ruling it out for now,” Biden said.
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