US President Biden says he will announce a high-level meeting with Russia and at least four major NATO allies to address Moscow's concerns about NATO's expansion.

Biden says US had a moral and legal obligation to defend NATO allies if they are attacked, but that obligation did not extend to Ukraine.
Biden says US had a moral and legal obligation to defend NATO allies if they are attacked, but that obligation did not extend to Ukraine. (Reuters)

Putting US troops on the ground in Ukraine to deter a potential Russian invasion is "not on the table", President Joe Biden has said, adding he will announce a meeting with Russia and other NATO countries in a few days.

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House on Wednesday, Biden said the US had a moral and legal obligation to defend NATO allies if they are attacked, but that obligation did not extend to Ukraine.

"That is not on the table," Biden said when asked if US troops would be used to stop a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"It would depend upon what the rest of the NATO countries were willing to do as well," Biden said. 

"But the idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not ... in the cards right now."

At the same time, he said that the US, its allies, and Russia could sit down for talks to discuss Moscow's grievances about NATO's expansion.

"We hope by Friday we're gonna be able to say, announce to you we’re having meetings at a higher level, not just with us, but with at least four of our major NATO allies, and Russia to discuss the future of Russia's concern relative to NATO writ large and whether or not we could work out any accommodations as it relates to bringing down the temperature along the eastern front (in Ukraine)," Biden said.

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Biden-Putin talks

Biden said he had made it clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his nearly two-hour virtual meeting on Tuesday that there would be economic consequences like none before if Russia invades Ukraine. 

He said he was confident Putin got the message.

"There were no minced words," Biden said. 

"I made it very clear: if in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences, severe consequences, economic consequences like none he's ever seen or ever have been seen," he said.

The White House said on Tuesday after Biden's call that the president had not made concessions to Putin, who is concerned about Ukraine potentially joining NATO. 

The Russian president has demanded guarantees that NATO would not expand farther eastward.

The Kremlin has denied having intentions to attack Ukraine and says its troop buildup is defensive in nature.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies