‘Any incursion into Ukraine is an invasion’: Blundering Biden is sent out with a SCRIPT to read as White House scrambles to clear up mess caused by his press conference gaffe that was taken as a ‘green-light’ for Russian attack

  • Biden joined the concerted White House cleanup effort Thursday morning
  • He said if ‘any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion’
  • He also warned there would be a response to cyber attacks or ‘Little Green Men’ – Russian forces disguised as militia 
  • His comments came after furious pushback from Ukraine 
  • ‘We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations,’ wrote Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky 
  • Ukraine’s foreign minister said Biden’s comments could invite a Russian attack
  • VP Kamala Harris snapped at NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie when she told the vice president that the White House’s messaging was unclear
  • She reiterated that any invasion of Ukraine’s borders by Russia would be come  at a ‘severe cost’ 

By GEOFF EARLE, DEPUTY U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR FOR DAILYMAIL.COM and ELIZABETH ELKIND, POLITICS REPORTER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM 

PUBLISHED: 01:20 AEDT, 21 January 2022 | UPDATED: 10:05 AEDT, 21 January 2022

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Russian President, Ukrainian President

President Joe Biden today used a script to offer his fulsome backing to Ukraine after he yesterday inflamed the invasion crisis by suggesting a ‘minor incursion’ by Russia would go unpunished.   

Biden said Thursday a move by any Russian forces into Ukraine would constitute an unacceptable invasion.

Biden also said the U.S. would respond to any moves by ‘Little Green Men’, a reference to Russian soldiers posing as militia, as well as cyber actions and ‘paramilitary tactics.’ 

‘I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding: If any – any – assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion,’ Biden said at the White House, reading from a prepared text at the top of a meeting.

He said an invasion would be met by a ‘severe and coordinated economic response’ that he has discussed in detail with allies ‘as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin.’ 

And he later got prickly with a Fox News reporter who asked him about the Ukraine. As reporters were being pulled out of his meeting with his Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Jacqui Heinrich of Fox News shouted at him: ‘Why are you waiting on Putin to make the first move, sir?’ 

The president’s response was captured by audio engineers. ‘What a stupid question,’ he said.  

Biden caused international fury yesterday when he said Russia might not be punished for a minor incursion. It lead to an immediate clarification from the White House and Kamala Harris did a round of TV interviews this morning to push back on it.   

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows battle group deployments at the Pogonovo training area in Voronezh, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022
Satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies shows battle group deployments at the Pogonovo training area in Voronezh, Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Biden had said it would be a ‘disaster’ for Russia if it invaded Ukraine, but also said: ‘It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera,’ Biden said at a White House press conference where Russia came up repeatedly.

That comment prompted cleanup from the White House Wednesday night, a task Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Vice President Kamala Harris carried forward in Thursday morning TV interviews.   

Psaki told Fox News in an interview Thursday: ‘Let me be very clear what the president has conveyed directly to president Putin. If there is any movement of military troops across the border into Ukraine, if they go into Ukraine and invade there is an invasion and severe economic consequences,’ she said.