US President Joe Biden predicted a Russian invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday. He expects President Vladimir Putin to take that step, despite the major economic consequences of such an invasion for Russia. That is what the American president said in a speech in which he looks ahead to the future after his first year as president.
Biden did suggest that a “minor incursion” would provoke less of a reaction from other countries than a large-scale invasion of the country. “I’m not so sure he knows what he’s going to do. I think he will move in. He has to do something,” Biden said in the speech. “He’s trying to find his place in the world between China and the West.”
The US president’s prediction shows once again that the United States assumes that Russia will take action in neighboring Ukraine. The Russians have stationed more than 100,000 troops near the border.
Biden spoke to Putin twice last month and says his counterpart is aware of the economic sanctions the US is preparing. If Russia proceeds with a full-scale invasion, it will cost the country dearly, Biden said. “If they actually do what they can do with the troops that have gathered at the border, it will be a disaster for Russia if it invades further into Ukraine.” According to the US president, the allies are ready to hit the Russian economy hard.
The American president also reflected on his achievements during the first year of his presidency. That is less than he would have liked: a social support package and a reform of the electoral system have not (yet) been forthcoming. But Biden mentioned in his speech what has been achieved: Vaccination rates have risen sharply, six million new jobs have been created and wages have risen.
Biden’s popularity figures have fallen since taking office, though he is still more popular than his predecessor Donald Trump. In the coming year, the president will have to deal with rising inflation and his party is preparing for the midterms, the midterm parliamentary elections. With Democrats currently holding a very slim majority in the Senate, the outcome of that election will help determine how much — or how little — Biden will get done in the final two years of his term.
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