Russia will make a move into Ukraine, says US President Biden, but warns Moscow will pay "dear price" for a full-blown war with Kiev.
US President Joe Biden has predicted that Russian President Vladimir Putin will make a move into Ukraine but warned a full-scale invasion would trigger a massive response that would be costly for Russia and its economy.
"My guess is he will move in," Biden told a news conference on Wednesday. "He has to do something."
Biden, speaking at a news conference to mark his one-year anniversary in office, also said he believes that Russia is preparing to take action on Ukraine, though he doesn’t think Putin has made a final decision.
He suggested that he would limit Russia's access to the international banking system if it did further invade Ukraine. Putin does not want a full-scale war with Ukraine otherwise "it is going to be a disaster for Russia," Biden said.
"He [Putin] has never seen the sanctions that I promised to impose if he moves," Biden said in response to a question that previous sanctions haven't deterred Putin.
Biden said that Russians might ultimately prevail, but their losses are "going to be heavy."
Biden also suggested a "minor incursion" would elicit a lesser response than a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, saying "it’s very important that we keep everyone in NATO on the same page."
Russia's Putin has never seen sanctions "like the ones I have promised" if Moscow invades Ukraine, US President Biden says, adding Russian banks won't be able to deal in dollars if Kiev is invaded pic.twitter.com/iOOnDdm9MT— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) January 19, 2022
'This could get out of hand easily'
Biden said of Putin, "He is trying to find his place in the world between China and the West."
"What I'm concerned about is this could get out of hand, very easily get out of hand, because of... the borders of Ukraine and what Russia may or may not do," he said. "I am hoping that Vladimir Putin understands that he is, short of a full-blown nuclear war, he's not in a very good position to dominate the world," Biden said.
Speaking in Kiev on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of planning to reinforce the more than 100,000 troops it has deployed along the Ukrainian border and suggested that number could double "on relatively short order."
'Ukraine doesn't want war'
Also on Wednesday, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy released a video address to the nation, urging Ukrainians not to panic over fears of a possible invasion.
"Ukraine doesn’t want a war, but must always be prepared for it," Zelenskyy said.
Russia in 2014 seized the Crimean Peninsula after the ouster of Ukraine's Moscow-friendly leader and also threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
More than 14,000 people have been killed in nearly eight years of fighting between the Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces in the country’s industrial heartland, called Donbass.