(FiveNation.com)- On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, the two eastern Ukraine territories controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Then Putin ordered Russian “peacekeeping” forces to enter the territories.
In short, Putin just sent troops into Ukraine.
In her speech at the Munich security conference on Saturday, Vice President Kamala Harris gave the usual “let me be clear” introduction, then added “I can say with absolute certainty” that if Russia invades Ukraine, the US and its allies would “impose significant and unprecedented economic costs.”
Kamala’s vow was quickly echoed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
During a rare press conference in January, President Biden bunglingly suggested that if Putin launched a “minor incursion” into Ukraine, it would not trigger a response from the United States.
The blowback of this remark was swift, forcing Jen Psaki to issue a clarification saying, “If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border, that’s a renewed invasion.” Psaki went on to explain that any such move would be met with “a swift, severe, and united response” from the US and its allies.
Well, here we are. Russian military forces just moved across the Ukrainian border. And despite Psaki’s forceful clarifications, the Biden administration isn’t meeting the move with “a swift, severe, and united response.” Instead, it’s moving the goalposts.
During a conference call with reporters on Monday, a White House official explained that Russian troops entering Donbas “would not itself be a new step.” The official explained that there have been Russian troops in the Donbas region since 2014.
In short, it’s a “minor incursion.”
The only thing Biden did was sign an executive order restricting economic activity in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Press secretary Jen Psaki was quick to clarify that this executive order is not the promised “significant and unprecedented” sanctions the White House has vowed to impose.
Biden confirmed that the goalposts indeed moved during his call with Ukraine’s President Zelensky Monday. He told Zelensky that these “significant” and “unprecedented” sanctions would only happen if there is “further Russian aggression against Ukraine.”
And if “further” aggression happens, will the Biden administration move the goalposts again?