Biden does damage control on Ukraine, saying Putin will ‘pay a heavy price’ if Russia invades

Comments come a day after criticism following his news conference

Eric Garcia
Thursday 20 January 2022 17:57
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Biden says Putin will pay ‘dear price’ if he invades Ukraine

PresidentJoe Biden walked back his remarks about Russia and Ukraine, warning that Russian president Vladimir Putin would face consequences if the nation invaded Ukraine under any circumstances.

Mr Biden made the remarks during a meeting with his infrastructure implementation team.

“I’ve absolutely clear with President Putin, he has no misunderstanding, if any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion,” he said.

Mr Biden said an invasion would be met with a “severe economic response” coordinated with allies.

“But there is no doubt – let there be no doubt at all, that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price,” he said.

The president’s words marked a clarification of his remarks at his Wednesday news conference.

“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 we end up having to fight about what to do and what to not do, et cetera,” he said on Wednesday. “But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing … it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine. They’ll pay a stiff price, immediately, short-term, medium-term and long-term if they do it.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement after the news conference making clear that the president would not tolerate any movement of troops across Ukraine’s border.

“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,” she said. “And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”

Mr Biden has spoken with Mr Putin on multiple occasions regarding a potential invasion of Ukraine in recent months. The President also met with a bipartisan group of Senators on Wednesday, including some who had visited Ukraine to demonstrate support for the US ally.

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