President Joe Biden spoke to US troops in Rzeszow, Poland, on Friday, addressing them about the current circumstances in Ukraine, which has been under an invasion by neighboring Russia for more than three weeks. Biden has repeatedly stated that the US will not go to war with Russia, but he indicated to the 82nd Airborne in Poland that they would see Ukraine when they are there.
"Look at how they're stepping up," Biden said. "You're going to see, when you're there, and some of you have been there, you're going to see women, young people, standing in the middle, in front of the damn tank, just saying, 'I'm not leaving. I'm holding my ground.' They're incredible."
"The Ukrainian people have a lot of backbone, a lot of guts. I'm sure you're observing it," Biden told the US troops. "And I don't mean just the military, which we've been training since back when they Russia moved into the Southeast, Ukraine, but also the average citizen, look at how they're stepping up.
"They take a lot of inspiration from us," Biden went on. He referenced the late Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who said: "We are the essential nation."
Biden told troops that "the truth of the matter is, you are the organizing principle around which the rest of the world, the free world is moving." He said that what's at stake is democracy itself, in a global sense.
"Things are moving so fast, change is happening so quickly, that democracies require consensus. And we can't put together consensus as quickly as autocrats can. So what's at stake, not just in what we're doing here in Ukraine to try to help the Ukrainian people and keep the massacre from continuing.
"But beyond that, what the stake is what are your kids and grandkids going to look like in terms of their freedom?" He said there are less democracies in the world today than there were 10 years ago.
"We're in a new phase, your generation, we're at an inflection point. About every four or five generations that comes along and changes, fundamental change takes place.
"The world ain't going to be the same, not because of Ukraine, but it's not going to be the same in 10 to 15 years from now in terms of our organizational structures, and the question is who is going to prevail: democracy's going to prevail and the values we share, or autocracy is going to prevail. And that's really what's at stake. So what you're doing is consequential, really consequential."
He praised the troops as the "finest fighting force in the history of the world."
Biden has stated unequivocally that there will be no US troops on the ground in Ukraine. While the US has continued to send weapons and supplies to the war-torn nation, Biden has said that the US and NATO would not institute a no-fly zone, which would drag the US into direct conflict with Russia.
In repeated speeches from both the president and Biden administration officials, the president has promised that the US would not head to war.
White House correspondent Andrew Feinberg said that despite the President's remarks about what troops would see when they are in Ukraine, a spokesperson told him that "The President has been clear we are not sending US troops to Ukraine and there is no change in position."
This appears to contradict what the President said when speaking to the 82nd Airborne.