During a Wednesday press conference, President Joe Biden gave Russia what some called a “green light” to invade Ukraine with minimal consequences.
Biden said he expects Russian President Vladimir Putin to take some sort of action to “move in” and invade Ukraine, and that the U.S. response “depends on what he does,” according to The Washington Post.
“I probably shouldn’t go any further, but … I think it will hurt him badly,” Biden said.
“He’s never seen sanctions like the ones I promised would be imposed if he moves,” Biden said. “What you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades.”
Biden said there are degrees of responses.
“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, et cetera,” Biden said. “But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing … it is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further degrade and, invade Ukraine.”
Many said those comments amounted to giving Putin a free hand to take a chunk of Ukraine.
Biden said in his meetings with Putin “he has no problem understanding me, nor me him.”
“I pointed out, ‘You’ve occupied before other countries, but the price has been extremely high,’” Biden said. “It’s real. It’s consequential. So this is not all just a cakewalk for the Russian military.”
“I think [Putin] still does not want any full-blown war,” Biden said.
“Do I think he’ll test the West, test the United States and NATO, as significantly as he can? Yes, I think he will,” Biden said, according to The New York Times.
“But I think he will pay a serious, and dear price for it that he doesn’t think now will cost him what it’s going to cost him. And I think he will regret having done it,” he said.