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President Biden said Wednesday that he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin will invade Ukraine but, he predicted, “I think he’ll regret having done it.”
During a press conference at the White House to mark his first year in office, Biden was asked about the continued buildup of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border, and the so-far unsuccessful efforts by the U.S. and NATO allies to de-escalate the mounting tensions through diplomatic negotiations.
“How can I say this in a public forum,” Biden said, hesitating briefly before saying of Putin, “My guess is he will move in.”
Biden’s comments came hours after Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a last-minute visit to Kyiv, warned that Russia could attack Ukraine on “very short notice.”
Despite his prediction, Biden said he still believes that Putin does not want a cold war, standing by the statement he made following a meeting with the Russian leader in Geneva back in June.
Rather, Biden said he believes Putin will try to “test” the U.S. and NATO “as significantly as he can,” arguing that Putin is “trying to find his place in the world between China and the West.”
Regardless of Putin’s motives, Biden vowed that “Russia will be held accountable” for its actions, warning that invading Ukraine “is going to be a disaster for Russia.” The Biden administration and its allies have sought to deter a military conflict by threatening to impose significant military, technological and economic sanctions against Russia in the event of an attack on Ukraine.
Putin, Biden said Wednesday, has “never seen sanctions like the ones” the U.S. is proposing.