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“Minor Incursion” by Russia Might Complicate West’s Response

If Russian President Vladimir Putin takes less dramatic action in Ukraine that could complicate the U.S. and allied response. Putin could carry out something that falls short of an all-out invasion, what Biden called a “minor incursion,” and that would leave the U.S and Europe divided on the type of severity of economic sanctions to impose on Moscow and ways to increase support for Kyiv, say AP News.

            This comes after Biden said on Wednesday that retaliating for Russian aggression in Ukraine would depend on the details. “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,” he said. Biden drew widespread criticism for this statement which led to him and top administration officials having to clean up those comments. According to AP News, Biden stressed that if “any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion” and if that happens, it would be met with “severe and coordinated economic response.”

            Despite that follow-up remark, Biden’s “minor incursion” comment still presented a potentially problematic issue: Though the U.S. and allies agree on a strong response to a Russian invasion, what’s going to happen if Russian aggression falls short of that, like a cyberattack, it’s unclear how they will respond. Among those expressing their concern on Biden’s “minor incursion” remark is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

            “We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones,” he tweeted.

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