The vice president drew applause in Munich from U.S. allies
By CHRIS GOOD
February 7, 2015, 6:26 PM
• 4 min read
-- Vice President Joe Biden took aim at Vladimir Putin on Saturday, telling him, "Don't tell us, show us," after the Russian president said he did not want war and wants to cooperate with other world leaders.
"Too many times, President Putin has promised peace and delivered tanks and troops and weapons. So we will continue to provide Ukraine with security assistance, not to encourage war, but to allow Ukraine to defend itself," Biden said.
"The Ukrainian people have the right to defend themselves," Biden said, drawing applause.
Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry met Saturday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Friday traveled to Moscow with French President Francois Hollande to meet with Putin and propose a new peace plan. Merkel will visit the White House to meet with President Obama on Monday.
"We don't want war with anyone. We intend to cooperate with all," Putin told a trade union on Saturday, The Associated Press reported. Russia has denied accusations from the U.S. and western European allies that it has supplied soldiers and heavy arms to bolster pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Defending U.S. economic sanctions on Russia, Biden warned Putin to "get out of Ukraine or face continuing isolation and growing economic cost at home."
Biden's comments come as the U.S. could be considering lethal assistance for Ukrainian troops. The U.S. has already sent supplies to Ukrainian government forces, and both President Obama's newly nominated defense secretary, Ashton Carter, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove have backed sending weapons.
Fighting worsened in eastern Ukraine this week, and the United Nations announced that nearly 1 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the conflict, as civilians fled the east on Friday amid a humanitarian truce.
Biden also stressed the importance of NATO and chided member states to live up to their commitments to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense.
"It doesn't fund itself," Biden said of funding. "Ask my Senate colleagues and my House colleagues. Every NATO country needs to meet its commitment ... I realize not all can do it now."