According to US President Joe Biden, any Russian force deployments beyond Ukraine’s borders would involve an attack, and Moscow would
“pay a serious cost” for such an act.
It was the White House attempt to clarify statements made by Biden the day before, in which he hinted that a “small intrusion” by Russia into
Ukrainian territory may lead in a more measured reaction by the US and its allies.
Faced with an onslaught of criticisms from Republican legislators and Ukrainian officials that Biden’s words had welcomed limited military response
by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden tried to explain his statements at the outset of a domestic policy discussion at the White House.
“I’ve been unequivocal with President Putin,” Biden stated. “He has no misinterpretation: Any, any gathered Russian forces crossing the Ukrainian
border is an invasion,” Biden said, adding that an invasion would be punished with a “serious and concerted economic retaliation.”
His remarks came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ready to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday in a
high-stakes attempt to defuse tensions that seemed doomed.
Biden stated that the US was bracing for Russia to take measures that went beyond the scope of conventional combat.
“Russia has a rich history of carrying out aggression by means other than unsubtle military action—paramilitary techniques, so-called grey
zone strikes, and operations by Russian troops not wearing Russian uniforms,” he stated.
On Tuesday, Biden said he believes Moscow will attack and warned Putin that if it does, Russia will pay a “heavy price” in terms of lives lost
and possible isolation from the global banking system.
However, Biden caused alarm among friends when he said that the reaction to a Russian invasion “depends on what it does.”
“It’s one thing if it’s a tiny intrusion, and then we wind up fighting over what to do and what not to do, and so on,” he explained.
“Russia has a long history of carrying out aggression by ways other than overt military action—paramilitary tactics, as such grey zone attacks,
and actions by Russian forces not wearing Russian insignia,” he said.
Biden said that on Wednesday that he expects Moscow will launch an assault and warned Putin so if it does, Russia would suffer a “heavy cost”
in terms of loss of lifes and possibly exclusion from the world financial system.
Nevertheless, Biden alarmed friends by saying that the response to a Russian invasion “varies on what it does.”
“It’s one thing if it’s a minor annoyance, but then we get into a debate on what to do next and what not to do, and so forth,” he stated.