Sunday, January 30, 2022

'DOOMSAYER IN CHIEF': Biden Claims Ukraine Invasion Would ‘Change the World,’ Seems to Instigate Tensions Between Ukraine and Russia

Source: NY Post

Published: January 25, 2022

By: Steven Nelson and Mark Moore

President Biden said Tuesday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would “change the world” — moments after reiterating that he has “no intention of putting American forces or NATO forces” in the threatened country.

“There will be enormous consequences if he were to go in and invade, as he could, the entire country — or a lot less than as well — for Russia, not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences,” Biden told reporters, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“But there will be enormous consequences worldwide,” the president continued. “This would be the largest — if he were to move in with all those forces — it would be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world.”

Biden made the remarks during an unscheduled trip to Capitol Hill, where he shopped at a small business called Honey Made — and bought a coffee mug depicting Vice President Kamala Harris — before treating himself to a mid-winter ice cream at another shop nearby.

Asked by reporters if he had any updates on the potential conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Biden said, “No, no updates, except that there’s been no change in the posture of the Russian forces. They are, as you know, along the entire Belarus border [with Ukraine].”

Biden said there will be “enormous consequences” if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to invade Ukraine. - Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden carries an ice cream cone as he leaves Jeni’s Ice Cream in DC on Jan. 25. - AFP via Getty Images

Biden added the US might apply economic sanctions targeting Putin’s personal wealth if he were to order an invasion, responding, “Yes, I could see that” to a reporter’s question.

The president was then asked what course he believed Putin would ultimately take.

“You know, I’ll be completely honest with you. It’s a little bit like reading tea leaves,” Biden said. “Ordinarily, if it were a different leader, the fact that he continues to build forces along Ukraine’s border from Belarus all the way around, you’d say, ‘Well, that means that he is looking like he is going to do something.’ But then you look at what his past behavior is and what everyone is saying in his team as well as everyone else as to what is likely to happen. It all comes down to his decision.”

The president’s surprise shopping trip came on a day with no public events on his schedule, which led to reporter questions at the daily White House briefing about what Biden was doing with his time.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley were seen leaving the White House shortly after noon ahead of Biden’s outing.

President Biden said he has “no intention of putting American forces or NATO forces” in Ukraine. - REUTERS/Leah Millis

Russian military vehicles at an undisclosed location on the way to Belarus on Jan. 24, 2022. - EPA

Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki reaffirmed that “there is no intention or interest or desire by the president to send troops to Ukraine.”

More than 100,000 Russian troops are believed to be massed along the border with Ukraine and the administration has warned that military action could take place at any time.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday that the Biden administration would “not rule out” more US forces deploying to Europe to support Ukraine in its standoff with Russia — a day after 8,500 troops were put on “heightened alert.”

“We’re certainly not going to rule out other options,” Kirby told CNN. “Our job is to provide options to the president – to the commander in chief – and we’re going to continue to do that.”

“And so, I certainly would not rule out the possibility that we could be putting additional forces on heightened alert in the coming days and weeks,” he added.

Kirby cautioned Monday that a final decision hadn’t yet been made about whether to send the US forces to bolster a 40,000-strong NATO Response Force if Russia invades Ukraine.

“I would not rule out the possibility that we could be talking about larger numbers in future days and weeks,” Kirby said Tuesday.

President Joe Biden holds a coffee mug with an image of Vice President Kamala Harris on it as he talks to reporters about Russia and the Ukraine crisis near Capitol Hill on Jan. 25. - REUTERS

A member of the Ukrainian armed forces walks at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels outside the town of Avdiivka in Donetsk Region, Ukraine, on Jan. 25, 2022. - REUTERS

NATO on Monday announced that its members would deploy additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe to boost “deterrence” in Eastern Europe.

“NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance. We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defense,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.

Putin has demanded that NATO refuse to ever accept Ukraine as a member. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants his country to join the alliance formed to counter Moscow during the Cold War.

Biden said last week during a White House press conference that a “minor incursion” would result in less-severe penalties for Russia due to disagreement among NATO countries — horrifying Ukrainian officials who said that the remark could give Putin a “green light” to invade.

When Biden was vice president in 2014, Russia invaded the Crimean peninsula and then annexed the territory from Ukraine following a disputed referendum. Putin’s government also allegedly supports a pair of pro-Russia breakaway states in eastern Ukraine.

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