US Vice President Joe Biden has called Russia the "greatest threat" to the international order, warning of a looming clash between the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the West.
The outgoing vice president made the remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, two days before the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump, who has taken a rather conciliatory line towards Moscow.
“Under President Putin, Russia is working with every tool available to them to whittle away at the edges of the European project, test the fault lines of Western nations and return to a politics defined by spheres of influence,” Biden said.
He further warned that Russia was planning to intervene in “the democratic process” of European countries, repeating Washington’s claims that Moscow meddled in the 2016 US presidential election that led to Trump’s victory in November.
“With many countries in Europe slated to hold elections this year, we should expect further attempts by Russia to meddle in the democratic process. It will occur again, I promise you. And again the purpose is clear: to collapse the liberal international order,” Biden added.
Despite reluctantly confirming US intelligence reports that accuse Putin of personally ordering cyber attacks to change the outcome of last year’s vote, Trump keeps showing strong willingness to work with the Russian head of state.
Speaking to hundreds of world leaders, CEOs and bankers gathered in the Swiss Alps resort town, Biden warned of a “dangerous willingness to revert to political small-mindedness” in politics.
He took another jab at the Republican president-elect by hailing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), describing as “a sacred obligation” the Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which views an attack on a member as an attack on all.
“Defending the liberal international order requires that we resist the forces of European disintegration and maintain our longstanding insistence on a Europe, whole, free and peaceful,” Biden stated.
“It means fighting for the European Union, one of the most vibrant and consequential institutions on earth,” he added.
This is while Trump has criticized the US-led alliance as “obsolete,” arguing that member states should either pay for Washington’s military support or stand on their own.
Since cutting ties with Russia over the Ukraine conflict in 2014, NATO has been amassing troops and heavy weaponry on the country’s Western borders in the Baltic region in order to curb what it calls “Russia’s aggression.”