President Biden addressed the Ukraine-Russia crisis during a White House speech on Tuesday and expressed optimism about diplomatic efforts while warning Russia of the consequences should an invasion occur.
Here are some key takeaways from his remarks:
A call for diplomacy: Biden spoke directly to Russian citizens and said that the United States and its allies pose no threat to them and that there is “a lot” of room for diplomacy with Russia to avoid a conflict in Europe.
“The United States and NATO are not a threat to Russia. Ukraine is not a threat to Russia. Neither the United States nor NATO have missiles in Ukraine. “We are not targeting the Russian people. We are not seeking to destabilize Russia. To Russian citizens: you are not our enemy,” Biden said.
The president told the Russians he did not believe they wanted “a bloody and destructive war against Ukraine, a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family history and culture.”
He returned to World War II, pointing out that Americans and Russians had “fought and sacrificed side by side in the worst war in history”.
Biden expressed optimism that diplomacy would resolve the crisis after Russia publicly offered to continue the talks, saying, “We have to give diplomacy every chance to succeed and I think there are real opportunities. ways to address our respective security concerns”.
The president said that the United States is “proposing new arms control measures, new transparency measures (and) new strategic stability measures”, adding that “these measures apply to all parties – the NATO and Russia”.
A warning for Russia in case of invasion: Biden also warned that if Russia invades Ukraine in the days or weeks to come, “it will face overwhelming international condemnation” and grave consequences.
“The human cost for Ukraine will be immense. And the strategic cost for Russia will also be immense,” the president warned. “If Russia attacks Ukraine, it will be met with overwhelming international condemnation. The world will not forget that Russia unnecessarily chose death and destruction.”
Biden said that while the United States “is not seeking a direct confrontation with Russia,” it has been clear “that if Russia targets Americans in Ukraine, we will respond forcefully.”
Possible impacts in the United States in the event of an invasion: He also spoke about the consequences Americans will face if Russia moves into Ukraine, saying “the American people understand that defending democracy and freedom is never free.”
The United States is ready to respond to rising energy prices and the potential for cyberattacks, Biden said.
“I won’t pretend it will be painless,” Biden noted.
Russian troop movements: Biden also warned that the United States had yet to verify that Russia had begun withdrawing some troops after the completion of recent military exercises.
“We have not yet verified that Russian military units are returning to their home bases. Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very threatening,” Biden said.
The president also pointed out that “Russia has more than 150,000 troops encircling Ukraine and Belarus and along the Ukrainian border, and an invasion remains entirely possible.”
This troop build-up continued to raise fears among Western and Ukrainian intelligence officials that an invasion was imminent.
Russia announced earlier Tuesday that some of its troops would return to base after completing recent drills, but stressed that major military drills would continue.
Learn more about Biden’s remarks here.
CNN’s Kevin Liptak, DJ Judd, Nikki Carvajal, Ivana Kottasová, Nathan Hodge and Uliana Pavlova contributed to this post.