Joe Biden admits Russia ‘will prevail over time’ if it invades Ukraine

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Joe Biden admits Russia 'will prevail over time' if it invades Ukraine

President Joe Biden said during his White House news conference Wednesday that Russia’s military “will be able to prevail over time” if it launches an invasion of Ukraine — moments after suggesting that a “minor incursion” by Moscow on Kiev’s territory may see a less severe response from Washington and its NATO allies.

Biden began by vowing that “Russia will be held accountable” if it launches an attack against Ukraine, but then hedged by saying: “It depends on what it does.”

“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having a fight about what to do and what not do, etc.,” the president went on. “But if they actually do what they’re capable of doing with the force they’ve massed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia.”

“I’ve already shipped over $600 million worth of sophisticated equipment, defensive equipment to the Ukrainians,” Biden said moments later. “The cost of going into Ukraine in terms of the physical loss of life for the Russians — and they’ll, they’ll be able to prevail over time, but it’s going to be heavy. It’s going to be real. It’s going to be consequential.”

U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on January 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden promised “Russia will be held accountable” if it invades Ukraine.
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President Joe Biden rubs his hair behind while discussing how much the US has supplied Ukraine’s military.
Biden did not offer a clear answer whether he would execute sanctions on Russia.
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Biden later reiterated that a potential invasion would not be a “cakewalk” for Russia before adding: “Military, they have overwhelming superiority in relation to Ukraine, but they’ll pay a steep price immediately, near-term, medium-term and long-term, if they do.”

Later in the news conference, Biden was asked by Alex Alper of Reuters to clarify his “minor incursion” comment.

“Are you saying that a minor incursion by Russia into Ukrainian territory would not lead to the sanctions that you have threatened or are you effectively giving Putin permission to make a small incursion into the country?” Alper asked.

After initially responding that “big nations can’t bluff,” the president doubled down on his initial statement, saying: “The question is, if it’s something significantly short of a significant invasion — or not even significant, just major military forces coming across. For example, it’s one thing to determine that if they continue to use cyber efforts, well, we could respond the same way, with cyber.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Biden expects Russian President Vladimir Putin to test “the United States and NATO,” with their planned invasion of Ukraine.
Sputnik/Pavel Bednyakov/Pool via REUTERS

“But it’s very important that we keep everyone in NATO on the same page,” Biden went on before acknowledging that “there are differences” among the allies about what their response to a Russian invasion should be.

The president also said he all but expected Putin to launch an invasion, musing at one point: “Do I think he’ll test the West, test the United States and NATO as significantly as he can? Yes, I think he will. But I think he’ll pay a serious and dear price for it.”

At another point, Biden began a thought by saying: “I think, as usual, he’s going to …” before pausing for several seconds.

“I probably shouldn’t go any further,” he finally said. “I think we will hurt him badly.”

President Joe Biden laughs during his news conference.
President Joe Biden emphasized Russians should expect a heavy “physical loss of life” if they go through with an invasion of Ukraine.
REUTERS

Biden’s news conference took place hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev and stressed the importance of unity among Western nations in the face of the Russian threat.

America’s top diplomat was scheduled to meet his Russian counterparts for further talks on Friday.

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