RZESZOW (AFP) – US President Joe Biden on Friday (March 25) compared Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to China’s crushing of protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989, speaking during a visit to Poland near the border with Ukraine.
Mr Biden also referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a man who, quite frankly, I think is a war criminal”, adding: “And I think we’ll meet the legal definition of that as well.”
Mr Biden spoke at meetings with US soldiers stationed in Poland close to the border and with aid workers helping to deal with the massive refugee crisis caused by the conflict in Ukraine.
The US president said he would have liked to see the devastation caused by the conflict “first hand”.
“They won’t let me, understandably I guess, cross the border,” he said.
Mr Biden praised Ukrainians for showing “backbone” in their resistance against Russia, giving the example of “a 30-year-old woman standing there in front of a tank with a rifle”.
“I mean, talk about what happened to Tiananmen Square. This is Tiananmen Square squared,” he said.
Speaking to the troops, he said: “You’re in the midst of a fight between democracies and autocrats. What you’re doing is consequential, really consequential.”
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday that there were around 10,500 US soldiers in Poland, a member, along with the US, in the Nato defence alliance.
Thinking hard about way forward with India
Meanwhile, a senior White House official said India’s position at the United Nations over the crisis in Ukraine has been “unsatisfactory” but was also unsurprising given its historical relationship with Russia.
Ms Mira Rapp-Hooper, director for the Indo-Pacific on the White House National Security Council, told an online forum hosted by Washington’s School of Advanced International Studies that India needed alternatives to continued close ties with Russia, Reuters reported.
“I think our perspective would be that the way forward involves keeping India close, thinking hard about how to present it with options, so that it can continue to provide for its strategic autonomy,” she said.