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What has Biden said about the European conflict in Russia and Ukraine?

The US President has stumbled through news conferences, leading to alarm in Ukraine and criticism from Russia.

Joe Biden speaks about Russia and Ukraine in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
Saul LoebAFP

Biden caused much consternation amongst allies and enemies, home and abroad, with comments last week by saying NATO may be split in response if there was a "minor incursion" into Ukraine.

He was immediately rebuked by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky, "There are no minor incursions. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones."

A service member of the Ukrainian armed forces walks at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels.
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A service member of the Ukrainian armed forces walks at combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels.Anna KudriavtsevaReuters

"If there's Russian forces crossing the border… I think that changes everything."

US President Joe Biden

The US state department went into damage limitation overdrive, with mealy-mouthed clarifications that the president was referring to cyberattacks.

"We have been very clear throughout," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday, adding that any Russian incursion into Ukraine would be met with a "swift, severe and united response" from the US and its allies.

However, what constitutes as a "severe" response has yet to be announced. The US, along with NATO, has no obligation to protect Ukraine militarily, and the US did not come to the aid of Ukraine when Russia occupied the Crimea back in 2014. It has taken steps to arm Ukraine, as has most of NATO. Germany has so far refused to arm the Eastern European nation.

President Biden also said he believes that Russia will "move in" to Ukraine.

What is the latest situation?

While forces are gathering in Russia and Ukraine in anticipation of battle, the United Kingdom has come out publicly against suspects they believe could be used by Russia.

A Ukrainian politician, Yevhen Murayev has said it is "completely unfounded" that he has been tapped by Russia to lead a Ukrainian puppet government. He said it was "stupid" as he has been sanctioned by Moscow since 2018.

The UK first reported their intelligence data the night of January 22, taking the unusual move of publicizing their information. In a statement, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking."

The British government said Murayev has links with Russian intelligence services, but has not published what findings led to the public announcement.