President Joe Biden offered up an update on Russia-Ukraine tensions Tuesday, telling Americans that the U.S. is “ready with diplomacy” while at the same time issuing a warning for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We are prepared to continue to work on diplomacy, but we are also prepared to respond in a united and decisive way with our allies and partners should Russia proceed,” Biden, speaking at the White House, told the nation. (RELATED: Biden-Putin Call Yields ‘No Fundamental Change’ In Russia-Ukraine Situation)
Biden warned of “the human costs for Ukraine … and the strategic cost for Russia” if an invasion occurs, but also sought to underscore the opportunity for diplomacy throughout his speech. At one point, the president warned Russia that an invasion “will prove to be a self-inflicted wound.”
“If Russia attacks Ukraine, it will be met with overwhelming international condemnation,” Biden promised. “The world will not forget that Russia chose needless death and destruction.”
The administration has been trying for months to de-escalate Russia-Ukraine tensions. Biden spoke with both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the weekend, and on Tuesday he noted that Russia has over “150,000 troops circling Ukraine and Belarus and along Ukraine’s border,” offering up a new, higher number than previous reports.
Biden also addressed Russia’s announcement alleging that some of its troops would be returning to their base after completing military drills, telling the nation that this has not yet been verified by the U.S.
“Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position,” Biden said of Russian troops. (RELATED: Biden Approves More Troops For Deployment Amid Russia-Ukraine Tensions)
The president warned Americans of the cost of a Russian invasion during his remarks, as well. He suggested Russia invading Ukraine could impact things like U.S. energy prices and the risk of cyberattacks, but also sought to reassure the country that he would not be sending any American troops to fight in Ukraine.
While the U.S. has no plans to put American troops in Ukraine, Biden did note that America “will defend every inch of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] territory with the full force of American power” if necessary.
“The American people understand that defending democracy and liberty is never without cost,” Biden said as he warned Americans of how an invasion could affect life within the U.S. “I will not pretend this will be painless.”