Joe Biden on Tuesday in Washington: sanctions against Putin conceivable
LEAH MILLIS / REUTERS
US President Joe Biden also believes that sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin are possible in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"Yes, I could imagine that," said Biden in Washington on Tuesday when asked by a journalist.
However, he did not elaborate further and the journalist did not press the matter either, as is clear from a video recording of the impromptu press conference during a visit to a Washington clothing store.
Biden also again threatened Russia with "heavy consequences" and "economic sanctions."
In the end, everything depends on what Putin decides about Ukraine.
With a massive Russian troop deployment near Ukraine, there are fears in the West that the Kremlin may be planning an invasion of the neighboring country.
However, some observers also think it is possible that fears are only being fueled in order to persuade the NATO states to make concessions on new security guarantees.
"Biggest invasion since World War II"?
A Russian invasion of Ukraine could be the "biggest invasion since World War II," Biden said, given the massive troop presence near the border.
Such a step would "change the world," said the US President.
According to reports, Moscow has positioned around 100,000 Russian soldiers along the Ukrainian border.
Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden said he was "continuing to expand the troop presence along the Ukrainian border."
Biden added: "If he were to invade with all these troops, it would be the largest invasion since World War II." It was initially not clear whether Biden was referring specifically to Europe with his statement, because of the US-led invasion of Iraq significantly more soldiers were deployed in 2003.
In Afghanistan, on the other hand, the presence of Soviet troops after their invasion in 1979 was given as around 120,000.