Biden’s comments to reporters in Washington come as the White House has urged Americans to leave Ukraine, saying that the security situation in the region “can deteriorate with little notice.”
“There are reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine. The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice,” said a State Department travel advisory Sunday.
The president compared a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine to the kind of operation not seen in Europe since World War II, saying the country would face “enormous consequences” if it attacked its neighbor.
“There will be enormous consequences if he were to go and invade… for Russia,” Biden said when asked to assess the risk that Russian President Vladimir Putin would opt to invade Ukraine. “Not only in terms of economic consequences and political consequences, but there would be enormous consequences worldwide.”
Biden said that such an invasion would “change the world,” comparing the scope of the situation to World War II.
“If he were to move in with all those forces, it would be the largest invasion since World War II,” Biden said.
The president said trying to predict what Putin will do is like “reading tea leaves,” noting that it will ultimately be Putin’s decision on what to do with all the troops Russia has amassed on the Ukrainian border.
But officials in Ukraine have sought to calm fears that an invasion could be imminent, arguing that the situation is currently “under control.”
“There are risky scenarios. They’re possible and probable in the future,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Monday. “But as of today… such a threat doesn’t exist.”