Key points on Russia-Ukraine war discussed in Joe Biden-Mario Draghi meet
- President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met in the Oval Office on Tuesday
- It was a demonstration of allied unity in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine
- It also revealed contrasting views on the issue
President Joe Biden and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi met in the Oval Office on Tuesday to demonstrate allied unity in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but it also revealed contrasting views on the issue.
Draghi suggested that leaders work toward "the possibility of bringing a ceasefire and starting, again, some credible negotiations." "In Italy and Europe now, people want to put an end to these massacres and this violence, this butchery," he added.
Biden did not echo Draghi's remarks, and US officials look openly doubtful that discussions can be restarted at this time.
Biden's national intelligence director, Avril Haines, said earlier Tuesday that both Ukraine and Russia believe they can make gains on the battlefield at this moment, thus "we do not see a viable negotiating path forward, at least in the short term."
She also stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready for a "prolonged conflict."
The differing perspectives on Ukraine reflect Italy's physical proximity to the conflict and closer economic links with Russia, which supplies 40% of the country's natural gas. In Italy, there is also growing reluctance about delivering arms to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the United States has increased its military assistance to Ukraine with bipartisan congressional support, and administration officials have adopted more strong rhetoric when discussing the war. For example, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently stated that the United States wants "to see Russia weakened to the point where it can’t do things like invade Ukraine."
Biden and Draghi continued to underscore their two countries' close connections and work on Ukraine.
"You’ve been a good friend and a great ally," Biden said, adding that the allies have "all stepped up" to oppose Russia.
"The ties between our two countries will always be strong. And if anything, this war in Ukraine has made them stronger," Draghi responded.
Draghi added, echoing Biden's words, that Putin "thought he could divide us. He failed."
According to Ali Wyne, a senior analyst at Eurasia Group, "shock-induced unity can be difficult to sustain," while the conflict rages on, reported ABC.
“Geography means that the escalation of tensions between NATO and Russia poses a more immediate threat to Europe’s security than to America’s — and means, therefore, that de-escalation is a more pressing imperative for Brussels,” Wyne added. “In addition, the more pronounced the externalities of the war become, including energy disruptions and food insecurity, the more pressure the American public and European publics are likely to place on their leaders to make a renewed push for a negotiated settlement.”