This was the White House's latest attempt to clarify comments Biden made on the day before, when he suggested that Russia could make a minor incursion into Ukraine. The United States and its allies might respond more carefully.
Biden attempted to clarify his comments at the White House meeting on domestic policy, despite being criticized by Republican lawmakers and Ukrainian officials.
Biden stated, "I have been completely clear with President Putin." Biden stated that he has no misunderstanding: Any assembled Russian units that cross the Ukrainian border are an invasion." He added that an invasion would be met by a coordinated and severe economic response.
He made these comments as U.S. Secretary Of State Antony Blinken was preparing to meet with Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, in Geneva in a high-stakes attempt to reduce tensions. It appears that this meeting will fail.
Biden stated that the U.S. was ready for Russia to act outside of the boundaries of conventional warfare.
He stated that Russia has used other tactics than military action in the past to carry out aggression. Paramilitary tactics, so called gray zone attacks, and actions by soldiers not wearing Russian uniforms are all examples of this.
Biden stated Wednesday that he believes Moscow will invade. He warned Putin that Russia would be paying a heavy price in the form of lives lost and possible exclusion from the global financial system.
However, Biden caused consternation among the allies when he stated that the answer to a Russian invasion would depend on its actions.
He said, "It's fine if it's minor. But then we end up fighting about what to do or not to do."
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian President, was one of those who expressed concern.
"We want the great powers to remember that small nations and minor incursions are not acceptable. He tweeted that there were no minor casualties or little grief after the loss of loved one.
Blinken, who was traveling to Geneva from Berlin, warned that the United States and its allies would respond swiftly if Russia sent military forces into Ukraine.
Blinken, his German counterpart, said that if any Russian military forces cross the Ukrainian border and commit additional acts of aggression against Ukraine, it will be met by a swift, severe and united response from the United States, our allies, and partners.
Later, Blinken accused Russia with threatening the foundations for world order through its estimated 100,000 troops in Ukraine.
Russia must face a coordinated and severe global response if they invade, he stated in Berlin, which was the symbol of the Cold War between East and West.
Blinken stated that these are very difficult issues and that they will take time to resolve. "I don't think we will solve them in Geneva tomorrow," Blinken said.
Later, he told the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences audience that Russia's actions towards Ukraine were an attempt to subvert international norms. This is just the latest in a string of violations of many treaties and agreements Moscow has made to respect sovereignty and territorial rights of other countries.
Blinken stated that "Perhaps no other place on the planet experienced the divisions caused by the Cold War more than Berlin." "Here, President Kennedy declared all Berlin-born free citizens. Here, President Reagan exhorted Mr. Gorbachev not to build that wall. Sometimes it seems that Putin wants to go back to that time. We don't hope so."
Blinken had met with high-ranking diplomats from France, Germany and Britain earlier to show unity over fears that Russia might be plotting to invade Ukraine. He had met with the president of Ukraine in Kyiv one day earlier.
Thursday's speech by Blinken stressed that the U.S. was united with its allies. He noted that American diplomats had held over 100 meetings with allies in recent week "to ensure we are speaking and acting together when it comes to Russia."
He said, "That unity gives strength, which I might add that Russia cannot match." It's the reason we form voluntary alliances and partnerships. This is also why Russia recklessly seeks division."
Washington: The Biden administration announced Thursday that it had imposed new sanctions on four Ukrainian officials. Officials claim they are part of an effort by Russia to create the pretext for invasion. Two former government officials and Taras Kozak, a member of the parliament, are named in the sanctions. According to Treasury, all four were involved in disinformation efforts of Russia's federal security agency, the FSB.
Russia denied that it was planning an invasion. The West, on the other hand, accused Russia of plotting "provocations” in Ukraine. They cited the recent delivery of weapons to Ukraine by British military transports.
Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, claimed that the West and Ukraine were talking about an imminent Russian attack. This was "cover for staging large scale provocations of their own," including military-related ones.
Russia seeks binding security guarantees. This includes a ban on Ukraine joining NATO. Kyiv also wants to be excluded from NATO.
The U.S. and its European counterparts say they are open to considering certain less dramatic gestures, but that Russian demands are impossible and non-starters are not within their reach. This, Blinken stated, is evidence of Putin's ulterior motive.
He said that "So far, all our good-faith gestures were rebuffed" because the crisis was not about weapons or military bases. It's about Ukraine's sovereignty and self-determination, as well as other post-Soviet countries. It's also about Russia's rejection for a post-Cold War Europe that's whole and free.
Russia announced on Thursday that it would conduct extensive naval maneuvers throughout February. Some of these maneuvers will be in the Black Sea. They will involve more than 140 warships, and more than 60 aircraft. Separately, Spain's defense Minister said that the country would send two warships to Black Sea, subject to NATO approval.
Blinken appealed to Russians to resist any intervention amid concerns that Putin might not be moved by sanctions.
"You have the right to live in security and dignity like everyone else. And no one, not Ukraine or the United States nor the NATO countries, is trying to undermine that. He said that a pointless war in Ukraine with your neighbor is what could compromise your security. This would come with all the associated costs, most notably for young people who may risk their lives or even lose their lives.
NATO and the U.S. face a challenging task in Ukraine. Biden stated that he does not plan to send combat troops in case of another Russian invasion. Biden could consider other, less risky options such as supporting the resistance of the Ukrainians after an invasion.
It is easy to see why the U.S. should not join a Russia-Ukraine conflict. The U.S. does not have a treaty obligation to Ukraine and war with Russia would be a huge gamble. However, doing too little can also pose risks.