U.S. President Joe Biden predicted on Wednesday that Russia would move toward Ukraine, and that Moscow would pay a heavy price if it carried out a full-scale invasion, but said a “small incursion” would cost less, much to the surprise of a Ukrainian. The official believes Biden’s report is a green light for Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade his country.
Biden’s statements at a White House press conference raised confusion over how the West would respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin did not order an invasion of Ukraine.
“My guess is he’s going to act … he has to do something,” Biden said of Putin.
“Russia will be held accountable if it invades, depending on what it is going to do. If it were a simple incursion it would be different,” he said.
“But if they really do what they can … it will be catastrophic if Russia invades Ukraine again,” he added.
About two hours after the press conference, the White House confirmed that any Russian military action inside Ukraine would lead to a tough response.
“If any Russian forces cross the Ukrainian border, it will be a new invasion, and it will be met with a swift, determined and united retaliation by the United States and our allies,” said White House spokeswoman Zhen Zhaki.
It added that Russia’s use of cyber-attacks or its paramilitary methods would be met with “decisive, similar and concerted retaliation.”
Biden said the US president and his delegation had prepared a wide range of sanctions and other sanctions to be imposed on Moscow in the event of an invasion of its neighbor, and that Russian companies could lose the ability to use the US dollar.
When asked what “small infiltration” meant, Biden said NATO members did not agree on how to respond to what Putin did, saying they had differences and were trying to make sure everyone was on the same page.
On Thursday, the Kremlin condemned the US president’s statement on Ukraine, saying Moscow had promised a “tough” retaliation during the military offensive in Ukraine, which it considers “uncertain.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “Reports are repeated all the time and may not only alleviate the current tension, but may also contribute to the deterioration of the situation.”
Peskov added that the statements “may cause complete misunderstanding among some Ukrainian hotheads (…) who are trying to forcibly resolve the problem in southeastern Ukraine.” Kiev has been facing conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the region since 2014.
For his part, a Ukrainian official expressed his shock at the US president’s statements in which he predicted a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“This gives Russian President Vladimir Putin the green light to enter Ukraine,” the official told CNN without revealing his identity.
“Kiev is stunned,” he said.
According to a Ukrainian official, the new statements could be seen by Russia as “a green light for Putin to enter Ukraine of his choice.” In other words, the initiation of a limited land grab, as in the past, is only mild US sanctions.
CNN described Biden’s predictions about the invasion as even more compelling, given that the United States fully expects Putin to take action after 100,000 troops have been deployed on the Ukrainian border.
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