Remember when Russia threatened to invade Ukraine under President Trump? Neither do we.
From Axios: Biden said that Russia will be “held accountable if it invades” but added that “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 not do, et cetera.”
Asked later if he was effectively giving Russia permission to make a small incursion, Biden said:
- “If it’s something significantly short of a significant invasion or not even significant — major military forces coming in…for example, it’s one thing to determine that if they continue to use cyber efforts, we can respond the same way, with cyber.”
- “There are differences in NATO as to what countries are willing to do, depending on what happens. The degree to which they are able to go.”
A reporter asks Press Secretary Psaki how many Americans are currently in Ukraine. Psaki: “We don’t put a chip in Americans when they go to countries around the world and track their movements” The less snippy and sarcastic version: “We are about to abandon Americans, just like we did in Afghanistan”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the ranking Republican member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, called Biden’s remarks on Russia’s buildup near Ukraine “nothing short of a disaster.”
- “He shared the potential disunity of Western nations on tough sanctions and clearly gave Vladimir Putin the green light to launch a ‘minor incursion,'” McCaul said in a statement.
- “American credibility with our allies and adversaries alike is hanging in the balance,” he added.
- “Rather than promising to act only in the event of a major renewed invasion, what is needed is strong U.S. leadership to rally a punishing response to Vladimir Putin’s aggression right now. I fear this President is not up to the task and he is inviting aggression, not deterring it.”
From Axios’ Zach Basu: Biden’s suggestion that there may not be devastating sanctions over a “minor incursion” by Russia is sure to spark alarm in Ukraine, where top officials have been pleading with the U.S. to impose sanctions now to avoid that very scenario.