On Thursday, President Joe Biden attempted to clarify his stance on a potential Russian incursion into Ukraine, this after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took issue with comments Biden made during a U.S. presidential briefing. Biden said Thursday that Russia will “pay a heavy price” for any invasion of neighboring Ukraine.
Biden addressed the military buildup Wednesday during a news conference, drawing a distinction between a potential “minor incursion” and a stronger invasion, saying: “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades and it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, etc., but if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the forces they’ve amassed on the border it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine and our allies and partners are ready to impose severe cost and significant harm on Russia and the Russian economy.”
However Ukrainian President Zelensky said Thursday that no invasion into Ukraine would be considered minor, tweeting: “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.” In response, Biden attempted to clarify that no matter the size of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies would stand against Moscow, explaining: “I’ve been absolutely clear with President [Vladimir] Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any — any — assembled Russian units move across Ukrainian border, that is an invasion. But it will be met with severe and coordinated economic response that I’ve discussed in detail with our allies, as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin. Let there be no doubt at all: If Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.”
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