Biden tries to clear up 'minor incursion' confusion
"If any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion."
U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday in damage control...
one day after his remarks sparked some confusion and consternation among allies.
At a news conference Wednesday Biden seemed to suggest that a smaller-scale Russian military incursion into Ukraine might be met with a weaker U.S. response....
"Russia will be held accountable if it invades - and it depends on what it does. It's one thing if it's a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and what to not do, et cetera..."
In a statement shortly after, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tried to clear things up: "If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that's a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our allies."
But that didn't soothe the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who tweeted on Thursday morning: "We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones."
Biden on Wednesday said he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin to launch some kind of action against Ukraine, but said that the repercussions of a fresh invasion would be a disaster for Russia.
"My guess is he will move in. He has to do something."
But Biden's "minor incursion" remark sent Western leaders scrambling to get behind a unified message.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met ministers from Britain, France and Germany in Berlin on Thursday.
"If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border and commit new acts of aggression against Ukraine, that will be met with a swift, severe, united response from the United States and our allies and partners."
Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops on its borders with Ukraine, and Western states fear Moscow is planning a new assault on a country it invaded in 2014. Russia denies it is planning an attack, but says it could take unspecified military action if a list of demands are not met, including a promise from NATO never to admit Kyiv as a member.
Some officials privately expressed frustration at Biden's remarks, although they described them as a gaffe, unlikely to alter Moscow's calculations.