Biden NATO
U.S. President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One at Torrejon de Ardoz airport, ahead of NATO summit, near Madrid, Spain June 28, 2022. (REUTERS/Nacho Doce)

Joe Biden has two main jobs on Ukraine at next week's NATO summit. But they take him in opposite directions.

The US president will arrive in Lithuania late Monday on a mission to stoke NATO support for Ukraine while simultaneously pouring cold water on dreams of quickly bringing Ukraine into the alliance.

It's a balancing act that goes to the heart of what Biden considers his biggest foreign policy achievement: uniting the West against Russia, while avoiding wider war with a nuclear superpower.

Despite fears that Europe had become too dependent on Moscow and the US Congress was too dysfunctional, Biden quickly managed to marshal both massive sanctions against Russia and dramatic military assistance for Kyiv in the wake of the February 2022 invasion.

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