‘There are no minor incursions’: Ukrainian officials push back on Biden


“Speaking of minor and full incursions or full invasion, you cannot be half-aggressive. You’re either aggressive or you’re not aggressive,” Dmytro Kuleba told the Journal. “We should not give Putin the slightest chance to play with quasi-aggression or small incursion operations. This aggression was there since 2014. This is the fact.”

Despite the brushback, the foreign minister said his nation still has faith in the Biden administration’s commitment to deterring an invasion by Russia, which has amassed tens of thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border.

“We in Ukraine have no doubt that President Biden is committed to Ukraine,” Kuleba said in the interview.

During his press conference, Biden said he anticipates that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intention is to invade Ukraine at some point and outlined his thinking surrounding potential responses to such aggression.

“It depends on what it does,” Biden said of Putin. “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.”

The president also warned Russia that an invasion of Ukraine is “is going to be a disaster” for Moscow and the White House quickly moved to further clarify Biden’s “minor incursion” comments and contain any fallout.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki followed up Biden’s press conference with a statement saying that the U.S. would view deployment of Russian forces into Ukraine as a “renewed invasion” that will be dealt with accordingly.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki followed up Biden’s press conference with a statement saying the U.S. would view deployment of Russian forces into Ukraine as a “renewed invasion” that will be dealt with accordingly. She reiterated that position Thursday in a Fox News interview.

“The president has conveyed directly to President Putin if there is a movement of any military troops across the border, that is an invasion,” Psaki said after being read Zelenskyy’s tweet. “If they go in, that is an invasion and there will be severe economic consequences.”

The press secretary also said the U.S. has an array of options to respond to Russian actions that fall short of an outright invasion and that Biden administration officials remain in regular contact with their Ukraine counterparts.

Vice President Kamala Harris was also called on to underscore the administration’s commitment to defending Ukraine during a series of morning interviews.

“We will interpret any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia and Vladimir Putin as an aggressive action, and it will be met with costs, severe and certain,” she said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”


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