Biden Promises Fulminating Sanctions If Russia Invades Ukraine

Defense Minister of Ukraine warns of “bloody massacre” 5:03

(CNN) – The president of the United States, Joe Biden, ruled out on Wednesday the sending of American troops to Ukraine to defend the country from a possible Russian invasion, a day after exposing the consequences of such an incursion in a tense phone call with President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House, Biden said he instead warned Putin that he would impose sanctions “like none he’s seen” should the massive build-up of Russian troops on the Ukraine border turn in an invasion.


But he said the United States would not send its own forces to Ukraine, a stance that US officials have previously also ruled out.

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“That is not on the table,” he said. “We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies if they attack under Article 5, that is a sacred obligation. That obligation does not extend to … Ukraine.”

Instead, Biden recounted that he told Putin in blunt terms that the economic consequences of a raid would be devastating.

“I was very direct. There were no words. I was polite, but I made it very clear: if, in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be serious consequences. Serious consequences. Economic consequences like none he has seen or had, in terms of taxation,” Biden said.

He said he believed his Russian counterpart had received the message.

This Tuesday, Biden and Putin talked for two hours (Photo by MIKHAIL METZEL / SPUTNIK / AFP via Getty Images)

“He knows. His immediate response was that he understood that, and I indicated that I knew he would respond. But beyond that … we will probably also be required to reinforce our presence in NATO countries to reassure those particularly along the eastern front, “he said.

How far would the US go to protect Ukraine from Russia 2:08

Biden said he was hopeful to announce in the coming days the beginning of a diplomatic process with Russia and other NATO allies designed to reduce tensions in the region.

“We hope that by this Friday we can tell you, announce that we are having meetings at a higher level, not only with us, but with at least four important allies of NATO and Russia, to discuss the future of Russia’s concerns regarding the NATO in general and whether or not we can find some accommodation when it comes to lowering the temperature along the eastern front, “he said.