- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2022

President Biden on Thursday went to work cleaning up his remarks about uncertainty about the West’s response to a “minor incursion” by Russia into Ukraine, insisting now that any cross-border action by Moscow would be viewed as an invasion.

“I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin,” Mr. Biden told reporters. “He has no misunderstanding. If any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”

“Let there be no doubt at all that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price,” Biden continued, noting there was also the potential for a cyberattack or paramilitary action by Russia that would require a coordinated response from the U.S. and its allies.

“The Ukrainian foreign minister said this morning that he’s confident of our support and resolve and he has a right to be,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Biden’s comments, delivered to reporters ahead of an unrelated event at the White House, attempted to clarify remarks at a press conference Wednesday that sparked consternation on both sides of the Atlantic.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also tried to fine-tune the president’s comments.

SEE ALSO: Republicans blast Biden for weak rhetoric against Russia

“The president has conveyed directly to President Putin that if there is a movement of any military troops across the border, that is an invasion. If they go in, that is an invasion and there will be severe economic consequences,” Ms. Psaki said on Fox News.

At the nearly two-hour press conference, Mr. Biden vowed to hold Russia accountable if it moves into Ukraine. But he also said the U.S. response would depend on Russia’s actions.

“It depends on what [Russia] does,” Mr. Biden said. “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.”

Tensions between Russia and the U.S. continue to escalate as more than 100,000 Russian troops lined up at the border. U.S. officials fear an attack could be imminent.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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