Joe Biden claimed he knew what Russian leader Vladimir Putin wanted from the Ukraine crisis, before stopping dead and saying, “I probably shouldn’t go any further.”
In a series of answers to questions at his first press conference in 2022, Mr Biden said he believed the Russian leader did not want “all-out war”.
Still, he hinted that Mr Putin might be happy with a “minor incursion”.
“I’m not sure he’s sure what he’s going to do. I guess he’s going to move in. He must do something.
He later clarified that he viewed a “minor incursion” as a cyberattack, rather than the use of his military.
“Do I think he will test the West? Test the United States and NATO as much as he can,” he said. “Yes, I think he will.”
Mr. Biden’s remarks about Russia, whose decision to send troops to its borders with Ukraine sparked one of the most anxious situations in Europe in decades, did not represent a new American position.
Yet his admission that Ukraine will not be admitted to NATO “anytime soon” has been taken by critics as an encouragement to Moscow.
Ari Fleischer, who served as George W Bush’s first White House press secretary, tweeted: “Biden just told Putin that a ‘minor incursion’ into Ukraine is basically okay. What kind of response was that? No incursions are acceptable.
The Independent Gt