Zelensky says ‘there are no minor incursions’ after Biden’s comments on Ukraine, Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said “there are no minor incursions,” an apparent response to President Biden’s comment the day before suggesting that Russia would face smaller consequences if it launches a “minor” attack against Ukraine, remarks the White House raced to clarify.
“We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “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.”
The tweet came after Biden, during his marathon press conference on Wednesday, appeared to suggest that Russia would face lesser consequences of Moscow launches a “minor incursion” against Kyiv.
“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 a fight about what to do and not do,” Biden said.
Biden has repeatedly warned that an invasion of Ukraine by Russia would result in decisive action, including strong sanctions.
Pressed on his comments later in the news conference Biden said “It depends on what he does as to what extent we’re going to be able to get total unity on the [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] front,” suggesting that any response would require support among NATO allies.
The White House quickly worked to clean up the president’s remarks, with press secretary Jen Psaki emphasizing Biden’s threat of a united response if Moscow invades.
“President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” Psaki said in a statement shortly after the press conference ended.
“President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics. And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response,” she added.
The White House further sought to tamp down the confusion after Biden’s news conference, deploying Vice President Harris to the “Today Show” where she said “If Putin takes aggressive action, we are prepared to levy serious and severe costs, period.”
Russia has amassed 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, leading U.S. officials to warn that an invasion could occur at any moment.
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