Ukraine: Biden's statements about Russia's incursion are a green light for Putin

US President Joe Biden predicted on Wednesday that Russia would make a move towards Ukraine, and said that Moscow would pay a heavy price if it made a full-scale invasion, but that a "small incursion" would cost it less, which astonished a Ukrainian official, considering Biden's statement as giving a green light to Russian President Vladimir Putin. to invade his country.

Biden's statements at a White House press conference raised confusion about how the West would respond if Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine, prompting the White House to try to clarify what Biden meant at a later time.

"My guess is he's going to act... He has to do something," Biden said, referring to Putin.

"If Russia invades, it will be held accountable, and it depends on what it does," he said. "It would be different if it was a simple incursion."

"But if they really did what they could do... it would be a disaster for Russia if it invaded Ukraine again," he added.

About two hours after the press conference ended, the White House confirmed that any Russian military move into Ukraine would lead to a tough response.

"If any Russian forces cross the Ukrainian border, this will be a new invasion, and it will be met with a swift, firm and united response from the United States and our allies," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

It added that Russia's launching of cyber-attacks or its use of paramilitary methods would be met with a "decisive, similar and united response".

The US president and his team have prepared a wide range of sanctions and other economic consequences to impose on Moscow in the event of an invasion of its neighbor, and Biden said that Russian companies may lose the ability to use the US dollar.

When asked what he meant by "small incursion," Biden said that NATO members were not united in how to respond depending on what Putin did, that they had differences and that he was trying to make sure everyone was on the same page.

On Thursday, the Kremlin condemned the US President's statements on Ukraine, which Moscow promised a "harsh" response in the event of a military attack on Ukraine, considering them "destabilizing."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, "Statements are repeated all the time and do not contribute to calming the current tension, but may even contribute to destabilizing the situation."

Peskov added that these statements "could raise completely false hopes among some Ukrainian hotheads (...) who might try to solve the problem in southeastern Ukraine by force."

Kiev has been facing conflict in this region since 2014 with pro-Russian separatists.

For his part, a Ukrainian official expressed his shock over the statements of the US President in which he predicted a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"This gives the green light to Russian President Vladimir Putin to enter Ukraine," the official told CNN, without revealing his identity.

He said that "Kiev is stunned" by those remarks.

 According to the Ukrainian official, the new statements may be viewed by Russia as "a green light for Putin to enter Ukraine at his will."

In other words, to launch a limited land grab as in the past, with only light US sanctions.

CNN described Biden's prediction of the invasion as the strongest acknowledgment yet that the United States fully expects Putin to take this step, after massing 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border.

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