White House

Press secretary Jen Psaki said the U.S. response to an invasion would be “swift, severe, and united,” after the president said it would depend on the severity of Russia’s actions.

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. | (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)


01/19/2022 07:52 PM EST

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The White House on Wednesday sought to clarify President Joe Biden’s comments about a potential Russian invasion into Ukraine, after Biden said the U.S. response would depend on the severity of Russia’s actions.

“President Biden has been clear with the Russian President: If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement. “President Biden also knows from long experience that the Russians have an extensive playbook of aggression short of military action, including cyberattacks and paramilitary tactics. And he affirmed today that those acts of Russian aggression will be met with a decisive, reciprocal, and united response.”

The statement came less than an hour after Biden wrapped up a marathon news conference, in which he said Russia would be held “accountable” for invading — though he added that the U.S. response would depend on the nature of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions. National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne took to Twitter during the news conference to clarify that Biden was talking about the difference between “military and non-military/para-military/cyber action by the Russians.”

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