U.S. President Joe Biden made an impassioned appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to step back from war with Ukraine on Tuesday, speaking starkly of the “needless death and destruction” Moscow could cause and international outrage Putin would face.
In a nationally televised speech, Biden said the United States estimates that 150,000 Russian troops now encircle Ukraine, a higher number than previous estimates of about 100,000. He said reports that some forces had withdrawn were welcome, but they were unverified and an invasion remained very much a possibility.
Biden said diplomacy remains a live option to wind down the crisis and urged Russia to engage. If Russia invades Ukraine, the United States and its allies are prepared to respond with penalties aimed at exacting economic pain and global isolation, he said.
“The United States is prepared no matter what happens,” he said.
Much of Biden’s remarks were aimed squarely at Putin, who has demanded that NATO not accept Ukraine as a member and stop any further eastward expansion. Biden’s threats of repercussions for Russia have yet to persuade Putin to back down.
Sign Up for Lisa’s Top Ten to get a daily briefing on the world each morning.
Start your free trial today.