U.S. President Joe Biden has branded Russian President Vladimir Putin a “rational actor” whose invasion of Ukraine is “irrational,” in a TV interview with CNN on Oct. 11.
Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper, Biden said: “I think he is a rational actor who’s miscalculated significantly.”
He added that despite the build-up of Russian troops along the now embattled nation’s borders, “no one believed he [Putin] was going to invade Ukraine”, and that Putin’s decision to do so was “irrational.”
“If you listen to the speech he made after when that decision was being made, he talked about the whole idea of needing to be the leader of Russia that united all the Russian speakers – I mean, it’s just, I just think it’s irrational.”
Pressed by Tapper, who began to ask whether or not Putin’s irrationality was linked to rumors of declining mental or physical health, Biden interrupted the presenter to emphasize the distinction between the Russian leader’s mental state and his actions against Ukraine.
“No, I didn’t say he’s not rational,” Biden clarified. “I think the speech, his objectives are not rational.”
The U.S. president added that Putin, who has become increasingly isolated by the western world since instigating the illegal invasion of Ukraine, most likely believed his own propaganda that the annexation of parts, or even all of Ukraine, would be “welcomed with open arms.”
“I think he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms; that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv where he was going to be welcomed,” Biden said. “And I think he just totally miscalculated.”
In a phone call to President Volodymyr Zelensky on Oct. 10, shortly after a series of missile strikes launched by Russia on predominantly civilian sites across Ukraine, Biden promised to provide advanced air defense systems.
A statement released by the White House that evening read:
“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., spoke today with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. He expressed his condemnation of Russia’s missile strikes across Ukraine, including in Kyiv, and conveyed his condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured in these senseless attacks.”
Biden pledged to continue providing Ukraine with the support needed to defend itself, including advanced air defense systems.
He also underscored his ongoing engagement with allies and partners to continue imposing costs on Russia, holding Russia accountable for its war crimes and atrocities, and providing Ukraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance.
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