Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed back Thursday against President Biden’s comments downplaying a potential Russian invasion into his country as a “minor incursion.”
In a tweet, Mr. Zelenskyy reminded his U.S. counterpart that even minor incursions have consequences and result in casualties.
“We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations,” Mr. Zelenskyy wrote. “Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power.”
At a rare White House press conference Wednesday, 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.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki quickly issued a statement to clear up Mr. Biden’s remarks. She said if any Russian military forces move across Ukraine’s border, it would be viewed as a “renewed invasion” and would be met with swift consequences from the U.S.
Republicans seized on Mr. Biden’s comments, saying he was giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a green light to invade Ukraine.
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.