1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Biden in Finland: Putin 'already lost' Ukraine war

July 13, 2023

During his visit to NATO's newest member, US President Joe Biden called Finland an "incredible asset" for the military alliance. He also said Russian President Vladimir Putin "already lost" the war in Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden addresses a press conference in Helsinki
In Helsinki, US Joe Biden said that he "absolutely" guarantees US commitment to NATOImage: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva/AFP

US President Joe Biden on Thursday visited NATO's newest member, Finland

Speaking alongside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, he said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has "already lost the war" in Ukraine, with Moscow running short of resources and in economic trouble. 

"Putin's already lost the war," Biden told a news conference in Helsinki. "There is no possibility of him winning the war in Ukraine."

He added that Ukraine "will join NATO" and Putin will eventually decide it is not in the interest of Russia to continue the war. "No one can join NATO while a war is going on," Biden said.

The US president has vowed to protect every inch of NATO territory including Finland. "The United States is committed to Finland, committed to NATO, and those commitments are rock solid," he said.

Biden also said he's serious about pursuing a prisoner exchange for a Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich who has been detained in Russia for more than 100 days. "That process is underway," he said.

From Vilnius to Helsinki

Biden traveled to Finland straight from a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. In Helsinki, he also held a mini-summit with the heads of government of the other Nordic countries — Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Iceland.

The main topic was closer cooperation between the Nordic countries and the US in the fields of security, climate policy and technology. A White House official said that during the meetings Biden would also welcome Sweden's prospective entry to NATO, after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan dropped objections to its application this week.

US President Joe Biden sits next to Finland's President Sauli Niinisto during a US-Nordic Leaders meeting in Helsinki
Biden noted that both the US and Finland share democratic valuesImage: Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

Biden's visit comes almost exactly five years after former President Donald Trump struck a conciliatory tone with Russian President Vladimir Putin at talks in Helsinki.

'Incredible asset' for NATO

Finland has been an official NATO member since the beginning of April.  The country's decision to join NATO broke with seven decades of military non-alignment and roughly doubled the length of the border NATO shares with Russia. Finland borders Russia along a length of about 1,340 kilometers (almost 833 miles).

"I don't think NATO has ever been stronger," Biden said, opening a meeting with the Finnish president. "Together we're standing for shared democratic values," he added, hailing Finland's as an "incredible asset" to the military alliance.

Niinisto said Finland's NATO membership heralded "a new era in our security," and applauded Biden for "creating unity" at the Vilnius summit which focused on uniting behind Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden takes part in a family photo with Finland's President Sauli Niinisto, Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store and Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir in Helsinki
In addition to discussing NATO, Joe Biden also spoke with Nordic leaders regarding the threat of climate change Image: Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

Fighting against climate change 'together'

Meeting with the heads of state and government of the Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, Biden called for close cooperation to tackle the climate crisis.

"It's the only existential threat humanity faces and we don't have a lot of time, but I'm confident — if we continue to work together, we can deal with it," he asserted. The Nordic countries have long played a leading role in this, Biden added.

Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir stressed that the US played a crucial role in tackling the climate and biodiversity crisis. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, meanwhile, praised Biden for bringing the US back into the fight against climate change. "And with you in the White House, we have an opportunity to do this together," Frederiksen said.

dh/wd (AP, dpa, Reuters)