Friday 21 January 2022 - 12:59

Ukraine Hits Back at Biden

Story Code : 974845
Ukraine Hits Back at Biden
The US had previously insisted that Kiev deserves unwavering support from Washington and that tough measures would be taken against Moscow should it order an invasion, RT reported.

Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Zelensky issued a reminder to heads of other influential states, as the “president of a great power”, that “there are no minor incursions and small nations”.

He added that “there are no minor casualties” or lesser “grief from the loss of loved ones”.

Zelensky’s dig comes after Biden admitted at a press conference on Wednesday that there are conflicting opinions among NATO members as to how the military bloc would respond to Russian “aggression” in Ukraine.

“There are differences in NATO as to what countries are willing to do, depending on what happens,” he revealed, acknowledging that the reaction would depend on the scale of a possible offensive.

At one point in the address, Biden suggested that a “minor incursion” might not be met with a severe response. He gave the example of cyber warfare – as opposed to killing Ukrainian troops – and said, “we can respond in the same way.”

The American president acknowledged that while Russia could eventually win a conventional shooting war with Ukraine, this would come at the heavy cost of human life. 

“This is not all just a cakewalk for Russia. Militarily, they have overwhelming superiority relative to Ukraine, but they’ll pay a severe price,” he explained, touching on potential economic embargoes as a result of a conflict.

Biden’s remarks come amid concerns in recent months that Moscow is amassing troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border ahead of staging a large-scale offensive against its neighbor.

Speaking at a briefing on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the situation is now “extremely dangerous”, and at a point where Washington believes that “Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine”.

The Kremlin, however, has repeatedly denied the accusations that it is planning to attack. Its Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, previously said that the movement of the country’s armed forces on its own territory is an internal matter and of no concern to anyone else.

Meanwhile the US Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned two Ukrainian MPs – Taras Kozak and Oleg Voloshyn – and two former officials – Volodymyr Oliynyk and Vladimir Sivkovich, accusing them of participating in a Moscow-backed conspiracy to destabilize the pro-Western government of Volodymyr Zelensky

“Russia has directed its intelligence services to recruit current and former Ukrainian government officials to prepare to take over the government of Ukraine and to control Ukraine’s critical infrastructure with an occupying Russian force,” read a statement from the Treasury, which followed the White House’s line that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.

Kozak, who owns several news networks and has already been sanctioned by Zelensky, is accused of using these outlets to criticize Zelensky, but the Treasury Department justified the sanctions against him by accusing him of spreading “false narratives” about the 2020 US election.

Kozak is a member of ‘For Life’, Ukraine’s largest opposition party. The party is headed by Victor Medvedchuk, who was already sanctioned by the US for siding with Moscow while Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014. Both men have been accused of treason by Zelensky and were sanctioned last year, in a move that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned as a politically-motivated attack on free speech.

Medvedchuk is currently under house arrest, on the charges, which he claims are politically motivated. 

Voloshyn is accused by the US of working with “Russian actors to undermine Ukrainian government officials and advocate on behalf of Russia”, and of attempting to influence US elections.

The former officials, Olinyk and Sikovich, are accused of gathering information on behalf of Russia’s FSB security service.

Tensions between Washington and Moscow remain at boiling point over Ukraine.

At the core of the crisis is the issue of NATO expansion: the US insists that Ukraine should be free to join the Western military alliance, while the Kremlin considers the idea of NATO troops and arms on its border unacceptable. Discussions aimed at resolving the crisis remain deadlocked, and the US is claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing an invasion.

In response to this alleged threat, which Russia has denied, the Biden administration is threatening further sanctions, and weighing the possibility of arming anti-Russia factions within Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Opposition Platform - For Life (OPFL) party also considers US sanctions against its members as an "act of international political terror", TASS reported.

"The OPFL states that sanctions and biased criminal cases against the representatives of our party directed at obstructing the lawmaking activity are an act of international political terror conducted on the orders of the criminal Ukrainian government," the statement published on Thursday on the party’s website said.

The opposition noted that the US and Ukrainian President, instead of fighting oligarchs and corrupt officials, are launching attacks on the OPFL.

"There are no doubts that the introduction of these sanctions is the result of close communication and personal agreements between Vladimir Zelensky and US officials, in particular, US State Secretary Antony Blinken and US senators," the party asserted, saying that this was a "direct result of the criminal policy depriving Ukraine of sovereignty, handing it over to be externally governed. Precisely because of our party’s fight for Ukraine’s sovereignty, its independence, the fight against external governing, the sanctions are being introduced against our party’s leadership," it added.