In a rare speech that is usually delivered on the eve of critical actions, such as war, to prepare expectations of the population, U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday warned from the White House that an invasion by Russia to Ukraine is “very much a possibility”, but that a diplomatic resolution was still possible, TURAN’s Washington correspondent reports.
“The United States is prepared no matter what happens,” – Biden said in his address to the American people, making it clear that he was not going to “pretend this will be painless” and that they would feel it at the petrol pump.
“We are ready with diplomacy — to be engaged in diplomacy with Russia and our Allies and partners to improve stability and security in Europe as a whole… And we are ready to respond decisively to a Russian attack on Ukraine, which is still very much a possibility” – Biden said.
The speech came just hours after Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that it was pulling back some troops from the border with Ukraine. Moscow has amassed upwards of 150,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, sparking fears that the Kremlin could soon launch a military incursion against Kyiv.
Details on the drawdown were sparse, however, and the White House voiced skepticism of the announcement. “That would be good—but we have not yet verified that.” – Biden said on Russia’s de-escalation claims. In fact, he said, American analysts assess Putin’s forces remain in a “threatening position.”
If Russia proceeds, he added, “we will rally the world to oppose its aggression”. Washington, he confirmed, is willing to discuss arms control and transparency issues with Russia, but wouldn’t compromise on a nation’s territorial integrity and ability to choose its own course.
During his speech, he also addressed the ordinary Russians, who have heard little from their own media about the unprecedented deployments of their soldiers around Ukraine.
“You are not our enemy. And I do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against Ukraine — a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family, history, and culture,” he said.
77 years ago, our people fought and sacrificed side by side to end the worst war in history. “World War Two was a war of necessity. But if Russia attacks Ukraine, it would be a war of choice, or a war without cause or reason,” Biden said, adding that if Russia does invade in the days or weeks ahead, the human cost for Ukraine will be immense, and the strategic cost for Russia will also be immense.
“The world will not forget that Russia chose needless death and destruction,” he said. “Invading Ukraine will prove to be a self-inflicted wound.”
Biden also reiterated that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline “will not happen” if there’s a larger invasion.