Biden jokes about expanded struggle with Russia: ‘If I have to go to war, I’m going with you guys’

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President Biden joked about the possibility that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could expand to directly involve the US military on Wednesday, telling union workers, “If I have to go to war, I’m going with you.”

Biden made the statement during a speech to unionized workers at the North American Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference on Wednesday. Biden opened his speech with a lengthy section on new sanctions against Russia.

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“This fight is far from over,” Biden said. “Here’s the point: This war could go on for a long time, but the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom.”

“And by the way, if I have to go to war, I’ll go with you guys. I really mean it,” he added.

Biden’s statement comes after months of him and other administration officials saying the United States would not deploy troops to Ukraine. The US military has limited its deployments to neighboring NATO countries and warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that invading any of those countries would mean direct war with the United States.

Biden said avoiding a direct war with Russia was a top priority, saying any engagement between US and Russian forces would result in World War III.

President Biden speaks during the North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Legislative Conference at the Washington Hilton in Washington, Wednesday, April 6, 2022.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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“I want to be clear: we will defend every square inch of NATO territory with the full might of a united and galvanized NATO, Biden said. tweeted in March. “But we will not wage a war against Russia in Ukraine.”

“A direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War III. And something we must strive to prevent,” he added.

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has already lasted much longer than US military officials originally anticipated. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress in a closed session in early February that Kyiv could fall within 72 hours of a Russian invasion. He offered a new prediction during his testimony on Tuesday, saying the war will last “at least years, that’s for sure.”

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