Biden has sharp response to reporter: ‘You’re playing a game with me’

Associated Press/Evan Vucci

President Biden on Thursday had a sharp response to a reporter who asked why he though the latest sanctions would change Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behavior after previous steps did not stop Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Let’s get something straight … I did not say that in fact the sanctions would deter him,” Biden said at a press conference from Brussels, where he is meeting with NATO leaders.

“Sanctions never deter — you keep talking about that — sanctions never deter. The maintenance of sanctions, the maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain and the demonstration, why I asked for this NATO meeting today, is to be sure that after a month, we will sustain what we’re doing not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year, that’s what will stop him,” the president said, raising his voice.

Asked if he believes NATO’s latest actions on Thursday will lead Russia to change course, Biden said, “That’s not what I said. You’re playing a game with me.”

“The answer’s no,” he added.

The Biden administration on Thursday announced sanctions on more than 300 Russian lawmakers and dozens of state-owned companies that are connected to the war effort in the invasion of Ukraine.

Additionally, NATO announced the establishment of four new battle groups in Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary and agreed to strengthen cyber defenses and equipment to help Ukraine, including providing detection equipment, protection and medical supplies, and training for decontamination and crisis management.

Biden said that the most important thing is for the United States and its allies to stay united.

“The single most important thing is for us to stay unified and the world continue to focus on what a brute this guy is and all the innocent peoples’ lives are being lost and ruined and what’s going on. That’s the important thing,” Biden told reporters. 

“But look, if you’re Putin and you think that Europe is going to crack in a month or six weeks or two months, why not — they can take anything for another month. But we have to demonstrate,” he said. “The reason I asked for the meeting, we have to stay fully, totally, thoroughly united.”

Tags Joe Biden Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin
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