President Biden in an interview released Saturday defended the slew of sanctions the U.S. has imposed against Russia and its elite, saying the punishments are the only way to avoid a global war.
Mr. Biden’s comments come amid criticism that the penalties the U.S. has levied against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government have not prevented an all-out Russian assault on Ukraine.
In an interview with podcaster Brian Tyler Cohen, Mr. Biden said sanctions are the only way to hurt Russia without risking global war.
“You have two options. Start a world war, go to war with Russia, physically. Or two, make sure that a country that acts so contrary to international law pays a price for having done it,” Mr. Biden said.
The president also pointed to the defense weaponry and economic assistance the U.S. has provided to Ukraine as evidence he is doing more than just punishing Russia.
Mr. Biden also said that Mr. Putin miscalculated because one of his goals with the Ukraine invasion was to divide NATO, but the attack has left NATO more united than ever.
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He said his goal was to make sure NATO and the European Union were together on key issues involving Russia.
“My goal from the very beginning was to make sure that I kept all of NATO and the European Union on the same page. Because the one thing I think Putin thought he could do was split NATO, creating a great aperture for him to be able to walk through. And that hasn’t happened,” he said.
The president pointed to comments from neutral Finland and Sweden about possibly joining NATO as evidence that Mr. Putin miscalculated his ability to sow division among the 30-country military alliance.
“Not only is NATO more unified, look at what’s going on in terms of Finland, look at what’s going on in terms of Sweden, look at what’s going on in other countries,” Mr. Biden said. “I mean, he’s producing the exact opposite effect that he intended.”