Biden warns of ‘severe consequences’ if Putin moves on Ukraine

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(UKRAINE) — President Joe Biden gave his first comments Wednesday on his video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he was “very straightforward” with the Russian leader, that “there were no minced words,” and if Putin decides to invade Ukraine, he will face consequences “like nothing he’s ever seen.”

“I was very straightforward. There were no minced words. It was polite, but I made it very clear: if in fact, he invades Ukraine, there’ll be severe consequences. Severe consequences. Economic consequences, like nothing he’s ever seen, or ever have been seen, in terms of being imposed,” Biden told reporters, after first dodging the question.

The comments come one day after a two-hour video call on Tuesday in which Biden warned Putin that the U.S. “would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation,” the White House said, as Russia builds up its forces on its border with Ukraine.

Asked about the possibility of U.S. troops on the ground in Ukraine, Biden it’s “not on the table,” but a few moments later he said it would also depend on “what the rest of the NATO countries were willing to do.”

“The idea of the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not in the cards right now,” he said.

The president said he “made it clear” to Putin that the U.S. would “provide the defensive capability” to Ukraine and “reinforce our presence in NATO countries.”

Biden also said he expects that by Friday the U.S. and “at least four” NATO allies and Russia will be able to announce high-level meetings to discuss Russian concerns “relative to NATO writ large” and work out a deal “as it relates to bringing down the temperature along the Eastern Front.”

“The positive news is that thus far, our teams have been in constant contact,” he said. “We hope by Friday, we’re gonna be able to say., I’ll announce to you that we’re having meetings at a higher level, not just with us, but with at least four of our major NATO allies, and Russia to discuss the future of Russia’s concerns relative to NATO writ large, and whether or not we can work out any accommodations as it relates to bringing down the temperature along the Eastern Front.”

And before walking away, Biden said “I am absolutely confident he [Putin] got the message.”

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