Biden administration still scrambling to clarify Biden remarks
After US President Joe Biden's remarks on Wednesday, which drew much criticism from the US and Ukraine, his administration is still trying to rectify what had been said.
US President Joe Biden is yet to speak with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky since his remarks about the possibility of Russia conducting an alleged "minor incursion" of the neighboring country, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
During his formal news conference on the eve of his one-year anniversary in the White House, President Joe Biden warned Moscow there would be a "disaster" was it to invade Ukraine.
In the event of a "minor incursion," the United States and its allies will just "end up having to fight about what to do and what not to do," which drew large amounts of criticism.
In a bid to rectify Biden's blunder of a statement, Jen Psaki made a statement about a "swift, severe, and united response" to Moscow if it makes any aggressive actions.
"He has not," Psaki said when asked whether Biden spoke with Zelensky since his Wednesday comments. The Ukrainian ally responded Thursday to his US counterpart's remarks, saying there were "no minor incursions and small nations."
Biden had said he believed Russia was preparing to take action on Ukraine, though he highlighted he did not think the Kremlin has made a final decision.
Trying to stand up for his allies in Kyiv, he threatened Russia with sanctions if it takes any action against Ukraine, suggesting that he would limit Moscow's access to the international banking system.
Biden casting doubt on 2022 election legitimacy
Biden's blunders were not limited to foreign affairs in Ukraine and Russia, as another one of his remarks sparked outrage, in which he cast doubt on the legitimacy of the midterm elections.
Biden had been asked if November's congressional elections would be legitimate if he could not pass his voting plans. His reply was, "It all depends on whether or not we're able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election," referring to stricter voting rules enacted by Republican statehouses.
"I'm not saying it's going to be legit," he added when asked about the possibility of fraud in the decisive congressional elections.
Jen Psaki had to once again rectify his words, saying he was "not casting doubt on the legitimacy of the 2022 election. He was making the opposite point."
She argued that the 2020 elections saw record figures in terms of voter turnout in the face of a pandemic, and "election officials made sure they could vote and have those votes counted."
The results would be "illegitimate" if states do what Trump had asked them to do after the 2020 election, she added in a nod to how the former US President called on voters to toss out ballots and overturn results after the fact.
She finished by saying the Biden administration was "fighting to protect [democracy]."
The American public, it goes without saying, was outraged by Biden's remarks, not to mention the Ukrainian public, and his speech will definitely leave its mark when push comes to shove during the midterm elections.
A bit of background
Russia is facing US-European allegations of a military buildup on its shared borders with Ukraine, and the two sides to the row held talks in Geneva to sort out their differences.
Despite dismissing and rejecting the western allegations of a planned invasion, Russia still went to the talks to officially put its demand on the table.
NATO and the US were "reluctant" when it came to promising that Ukraine would not become party to the alliance, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Russia has been demanding a written commitment that Ukraine would never be able to join NATO and that the alliance would not place any military equipment in certain countries in the region surrounding Russia.
The Kremlin sees that it is best for Russian security that the alliance does not expand eastward and that Russia does not have any Western military activity in its vicinity.
Additionally, Russia stated that it has the right to move its troops within its territory at its discretion, seeing that the Western accusations come as a pretext to deploy additional NATO military equipment near Russian borders.