“Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does,” Biden said, when asked how he would hold Russia accountable for an invasion.
“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. But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia.”
The answer immediately drew ire from Republican lawmakers who said the president gave Putin a green light to cross the border. And during the news conference, Biden didn’t do much to alter his answer when asked whether he was giving Putin permission, as long as it was a “minor incursion,” and whether Russia could avoid severe sanctions the U.S. has threatened.
“I think we will if there’s something that is — where there’s Russian forces crossing the border, killing Ukrainian fighters, et cetera. I think that changes everything,” Biden said. “But it depends on what he does.”
White House officials have been vocal this week about their growing concerns about a looming Russian invasion. The alarmist chatter comes after last week’s talks between Russia, the U.S. and allies flamed out, doing little to divert the path toward war.