(Trends Wide) — US President Joe Biden sought Thursday to clarify his stance on a possible Russian incursion into Ukraine, correcting comments he made at a news conference in which he suggested a “minor incursion” by Russia would provoke less of a response than a full-scale invasion of the country.
“I was absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding. If any – any – of the assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion. But it will be met with a severe and coordinated economic response that I have discussed in detail with our allies, just as I have exposed President Putin very clearly,” Biden said at the start of an event to promote the bipartisan infrastructure package approved last year.
If Putin decides to invade, Biden added, “Russia will pay a heavy price.”
While attempting to clarify his earlier comments, Biden noted that Russia has a “long history” of using measures other than open military action to carry out aggression, including paramilitary tactics, so-called gray zone attacks, of non-uniformed Russian soldiers, the little green men and cyber-attacks,
“We have to be prepared to respond to these as well and decisively,” Biden said, echoing comments made late Wednesday and early Thursday by press secretary Jen Psaki and Vice President Kamala Harris.
He noted that Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Thursday that “he trusts our support and resolve, and he has the right to do so.”
Biden went on touting the bipartisan infrastructure package, which he said on the first anniversary of his inauguration will help “demonstrate that government can also work efficiently and effectively for the people.”