WASHINGTON ― President Joe Biden on Tuesday welcomed Russian overtures toward ending a crisis in Ukraine, but reiterated that he was ready to respond with overwhelming economic sanctions if an invasion occurs.
“We should give diplomacy every chance to succeed,” Biden said in brief remarks from the East Room of the White House. “We will not sacrifice basic principles, though.”
Those principles, he said, include Ukraine’s sovereignty and its right to territorial integrity.
“The United States is prepared no matter what happens,” he said, noting that “an invasion remains distinctly possible.”
Biden made clear to Americans that he has no intention of sending U.S. troops to Ukraine, though he has approved the training of Ukrainian troops and the transfer of weapons to the country. He also warned that should an invasion take place, there would be economic consequences in the United States, including higher gas prices.
“I will not pretend this will not be painless,” he said, adding that he would try to alleviate such pain as best he could. Nevertheless, he said that in the event Russia invades, a response would be necessary. “If we do not stand for freedom where it is at risk today, we’ll surely pay a steeper price tomorrow.”
Biden also at one point spoke directly to Russian citizens. “We’re not targeting the people of Russia,” he said. “We do not seek to destabilize Russ...