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President Biden held a press conference at the White House on the eve of his first anniversary in office on Wednesday. He addressed a reporter’s question about sanctions against Moscow if Russia invades Ukraine.
- Your top foreign policy advisors have warned that Russia is now ready to attack Ukraine, but there's still little unity among European allies about what a package of sanctions against Moscow would look like. If the US and NATO aren't willing to put troops on the line to defend Ukraine and American allies can't agree on a sanctions package, hasn't the US and the West lost nearly all of its leverage over Vladimir Putin? And given how ineffective sanctions have been in deterring Putin in the past, why should the threat of new sanctions give him pause?
JOE BIDEN: Well, because he's never seen sanctions like the ones I promised will be imposed if he moves, number one. Number two, we're in a situation where Vladimir Putin is about to-- we've had very frank discussions, Vladimir Putin and I, and the idea that NATO is not going to be united I don't buy. I've spoken to every major NATO leader. We've had the NATO-Russia Summit. We've had other-- the OSCE has met, et cetera.
And so I think what you're going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It's one thing if it's a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera. But if they actually do what they're capable of doing with the forces amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia, if they further invade Ukraine, and that our allies and partners are ready to impose severe cost and significant harm on Russia and the Russian economy.