Biden said that “both Russia and China are seeking to drive a wedge into our transatlantic solidarity,” and the president also sidestepped the question of whether he supported giving Ukraine a plan to join Natov. BRUSSELS – President Joe Biden used his first NATO summit since taking office to warn of Russia and the growing power of China, reiterating a call that the military alliance needs to prove to the world that democracy still prevails. Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Biden said that “Russia and China seek to drive a wedge into our transatlantic solidarity,” but added that the NATO treaty was “solid and unshakable.” Biden said he spoke with his foreign counterparts about Russia’s aggressive actions that posed a threat to security, particularly regarding recent malicious cyber attacks, and said he would clarify where the “red lines” are at his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva the next day. On Wednesday, he said: “I am not looking for a conflict with Russia, but we will respond if Russia continues its harmful activities.” The president also sidestepped a question if he supported giving Ukraine a plan to join the military coalition, telling reporters, “The school is out of the question.” “It depends on whether they meet the criteria,” he said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters earlier that he wanted a clear “yes” or “no” answer from Biden on the matter. Biden said the decision would not only be made by him, but also by other members of the coalition. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the 30-nation alliance, established in the aftermath of World War II to counter the geopolitical ambitions of the then-Soviet Union, was at a “pivotal moment” in its 72-year history. Biden told bloc leaders as he arrived for the one-day meeting in Brussels that he wanted to “make clear” that “NATO is extremely important to the interests of the United States.” Former President Donald Trump left many US allies confused on this point, as he underestimated the alliance’s usefulness and effectiveness, publicly accused its members of evading funding commitments, and at times seemed an effort to placate NATO’s main adversary – Russian President Vladimir Putin. Monday’s NATO statement continued pressure on Russia, saying that “until Russia demonstrates compliance with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities, it is not possible to return to ‘business as usual’ with Moscow.” Russia’s regional aggressions in neighboring Ukraine have destabilized NATO members, as well as Moscow’s use of disinformation and cyber warfare to inflame tensions.Biden will meet Putin in Geneva on Wednesday, where many of the issues that NATO leaders discussed with the Russian leader will be brought up.Philip Breedlove, the former supreme commander of NATO in Europe,said, “Russia has strengthened It has played in the past several months, and we are targets,” referring to cyber attacks against US interests that Washington believes were somehow orchestrated by the Kremlin. “And we have to figure out how to deal with them.” But for the first time in the alliance’s history, China was identified in a NATO summit statement, The leaders said Beijing presents “systematic challenges” to the alliance, and the 79-point statement accused Beijing of “rapid expansion of its nuclear arsenal” and “ambiguity in the implementation of its military modernization.” China’s military cooperation with Russia is in the form of exercises. Moscow and Beijing held joint military exercises for the first time in the Baltic Sea recently. “We remain concerned about China’s repeated lack of transparency and use of disinformation. We call on China to fulfill its international obligations and act responsibly in the international system, including in the space, electronic and maritime domains, in line with its role as a major power.” Beijing responded quickly, and the Chinese Embassy in the United Kingdom on Monday released a statement saying that NATO “deliberately slandered China and arbitrarily interfered in China’s internal affairs” and revealed the “evil intentions of a few countries” such as USNATO leaders said they would expand Article 5 – a mutual defense clause. It was cited only once previously in the history of the coalition, after the 9/11 attacks – to include assaults occurring in space. Until today, Article 5 has only applied to conventional military attacks that occur on land, at sea, or in the air. Cyber attacks have been added recently.