President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could face personal sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine, ABC News reports.
"If he were to move in with all those forces, it would be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world," Biden told reporters.
Biden said there would be “serious economic consequences” if Russia invades, adding that he would consider unspecified sanctions against Putin personally.
But Biden reasserted that the US would not send troops into Ukraine as the country considers deploying at least 8,500 troops to NATO allies in Europe.
"I may be moving some of those troops in the nearer term, just because it takes time," Biden said. "We have no intention of putting American forces, or NATO forces, in Ukraine. But we -- as I said – there are gonna be serious economic consequences if he [Putin] moves.”
Russia shrugs off threat:
A Kremlin spokesman on Wednesday said that personal sanctions on Putin would not hurt him but would be “politically destructive.”
The comment came as top officials from Ukraine and Russia met Wednesday in an effort to defuse tensions at the border.
"It's very encouraging that the Russians agreed to enter into this diplomatic format again," an aide to French President Emmanuel Macron told AFP. "We want a de-escalation, which means both dialogue and dissuasion.”
"The sanctions must not lead to retaliation that will boomerang on us and have a cost," the aide said. "Sanctions are not the be-all and end-all of the response."
Ukraine downplays threat:
Ukrainian officials have increasingly downplayed the threat of a full-scale invasion.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kubela said Wednesday that the number of Russian troops at the border poses a “direct threat to Ukraine” but “this number is insufficient for a full-scale offensive along the entire Ukrainian border.”
“They also lack some important military indicators and systems to conduct such a large full-scale offensive," he added. "We can say 100 times a day invasion is imminent, but this doesn't change the situation on the ground."