Biden predicts Putin will ‘move in’ to Ukraine because ‘he has to do something’

By Paul Sonne*

President Biden listens to a question from a reporter during a news conference at the White House on Jan. 19. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

President Biden on Wednesday predicted Russia will once again invade Ukraine, speaking at a news conference in which he also made confusing remarks about how the United States and its allies would respond to Russian action short of a full-scale, multipronged offensive.

Biden told reporters he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin does not want a “full-blown war” but does want to test the United States and NATO — and probably will proceed with actions the Kremlin will come to regret because of their high cost.

“I’m not so sure he [is] certain what he’s going to do,” Biden said. “My guess is he will move in. He has to do something.”

Biden also suggested that a “minor incursion” by Russian forces, as opposed to a full-scale invasion, may not prompt the severe response Washington and its allies have threatened, creating confusion about how the United States would react to a Russian attack short of a devastating offensive and large-scale occupation.

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