Ukraine hits back at Biden
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has lashed out at hints from his US counterpart Joe Biden that the West may not follow through with a strong response in the case of a “minor” attack by Russia. The US had previously insisted that Kiev deserves unwavering support from Washington and that tough measures would be taken against Moscow should it order an invasion.
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Zelensky issued a reminder to heads of other influential states, as the “president of a great power,” that “there are no minor incursions and small nations.”
He added that “there are no minor casualties” or lesser “grief from the loss of loved ones.”
Zelensky’s dig comes after Biden admitted at a press conference on Wednesday that there are conflicting opinions among NATO members as to how the military bloc would respond to Russian “aggression” in Ukraine.
“There are differences in NATO as to what countries are willing to do, depending on what happens,” he revealed, acknowledging that the reaction would depend on the scale of a possible offensive.
At one point in the address, Biden suggested that a “minor incursion” might not be met with a severe response. He gave the example of cyber warfare – as opposed to killing Ukrainian troops – and said, “we can respond in the same way.”
The American president acknowledged that while Russia could eventually win a conventional shooting war with Ukraine, this would come at the heavy cost of human life. “This is not all just a cakewalk for Russia. Militarily, they have overwhelming superiority relative to Ukraine, but they’ll pay a severe price,” he explained, touching on potential economic embargoes as a result of a conflict.
Biden’s remarks come amid concerns in recent months that Moscow is amassing troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border ahead of staging a large-scale offensive against its neighbor. Speaking at a briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the situation is now “extremely dangerous,” and at a point where Washington believes that “Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine.”
The Kremlin, however, has repeatedly denied the accusations that it is planning to attack. Its Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, previously said that the movement of the country’s armed forces on its own territory is an internal matter and of no concern to anyone else.