Biden has been trying to stay on the fence when it comes to Ukraine. He claimed we would not have boots on the ground back when it was first reported that Russia had put a gigantic force along the Ukrainian border, and earlier this week he tried to do the same thing, after repeatedly claiming that we would be supporting Ukraine. He gave a statement basically saying we would help them, but only if it was a full-scale invasion. Ukraine saw this double talk and called Biden out, which led to Biden having to make a statement about where we actually stand.
“At his Wednesday news conference, Biden said he expected Putin to launch some kind of action, and appeared to suggest Washington and its allies might disagree over the response if Moscow stopped short of a major invasion.
“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,” the president said, adding that an invasion would be a “disaster” for Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy responded sharply to that on Thursday, tweeting in English and Ukrainian:
“We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones.”
This forced Biden to make the following statement, which tells Russia we are now 100% behind Ukraine as opposed to before when it was only if NATO calls on us as it is our obligation.
“I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any — any — assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion. But — and it would be met with a severe and coordinated economic response that I’ve discussed in detail with our allies, as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin.
But there is no doubt — let there be no doubt at all that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.
It is also not the only scenario we need to be prepared for: Russia has a long history of using measures other than overt military action to carry out aggression in paramilitary tactics, so-called “gray-zone” attacks, and actions by Russian soldiers not wearing Russian uniforms.
Remember when they moved into the Donbas with “Little Green Men”? They weren’t — they were dealing with those who were Russian sympathizers and said that Russia had no — nobody in there.
Well, that includes “Little Green Men” in uniforms, as well as cyberattacks.
We have to be ready to respond to these as well — and decisively — in a united way, with a range of tools at our disposal.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister said this morning that he’s confident of our support and resolve. And he has a right to be.”
So now the ball is in Russia’s court and we are going to see how bad they want Ukraine.