Biden Has Not Spoken With Zelenskyy Since ‘Minor Incursion’ Remarks - White House
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Joe Biden has not spoken with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, since his remarks about the possibility of Russia conducting a "minor incursion" of the neighboring country, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday.
During his first press conference of 2022 on Wednesday, Biden warned that it would be a "disaster" for Russia if it invaded its western neighbor. He, however, said that in the event of "a minor incursion," the United States and its allies will just "end up having to fight about what to do and what not to do."
The remark drew much criticism, and White House spokeswoman Psaki has since made a statement about a "swift, severe, and united response" to Russia in the event of any aggressive action.
"He has not," Psaki said, when asked whether Biden spoke with Zelenskyy since his comments on Wednesday.
Zelenskyy responded on Thursday to Biden's remarks, saying that there are "no minor incursions and small nations."
Hours after her initial Thursday remarks on the matter, Psaki appeared on CNN to underscore that Biden did not intend to send the message to Russia that what he called a "minor incursion" into Ukraine was acceptable.
"That’s absolutely not what our intention was, or not the message we’ve sent," Psaki told CNN on Thursday in response to a question whether Biden’s statement during a press conference on Wednesday could be perceived as greenlighting an invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Psaki added that the US Treasury Department recently announced sanctions against several individuals allegedly linked to Russian misinformation campaigns in Ukraine.
19 January 2022, 21:33 GMT
Russia has repeatedly dismissed allegations by the West and Kiev about "aggressive actions" near the Ukrainian border and an alleged military build-up. On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov reiterated that the country will not attack Ukraine and is taking no actions to threaten the security of its neighbor.
Russia has stated that it has the right to move its troops within its territory at its discretion. The accusations made by Western countries appear to be a pretext for deploying more NATO military equipment near Russian borders, according to Moscow.