The world was waiting for the next shoe to fall in Ukraine as the Russian war machine ineluctably surrounded this eastern European nation. On Monday, it fell as Russian forces, under the pretext of protecting citizens of two separatist regions, launched an initial invasion.
An immediate reaction came from President Biden, who charged that President Putin had committed “a flagrant violation of international law.” Biden added that “Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine. He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view. This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
Since the inception of the Russian advance in the region, Biden has promised to implement sanctions and if the aggression increases, that “Russia will pay an even steeper price.”
Meanwhile, former President Trump, during a podcast interview on Tuesday, called Putin a “genius” in his political and military moves. “Here’s a guy who’s very savvy,” Trump added, “I know him very well.” He later claimed in a written statement that what Putin is doing now would have never occurred under his administration.
In a response to these comments, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration tries “not to take advice from anyone who praises President Putin and his military strategy, which I believe is what happened there, expresses an openness to lifting sanctions about the seizing of territory and Crimea, or at any point in time told leaders of the G7 that Crimea is a part of a Russia, regardless if they are a former president.
“So, there’s a bit of a different tactic, a bit of a different approach,” Psaki added. “And that’s probably why President Biden and not his predecessor was able to rally the world and the global community in taking steps against Russia’s aggression.”
Several GOP stalwarts weighed in on the recent invasion, stating that Biden has not delivered on his promise of “swift and severe” response.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered U.S. troops and aircraft to redeploy within Europe to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank. This action includes about 800 troops from Italy to the Baltic States as well as eight F-35 fighter planes from Germany. According to the Pentagon, these moves are temporary among the 90,000 U.S. troops in Europe.