Joe Biden's Timidity on Russia Incentivizes Vladimir Putin, John Bolton Says

John Bolton, a former national security adviser to Donald Trump, has accused President Joe Biden of not acting strongly enough in attempting to stop Vladimir Putin from ordering troops to invade Ukraine.

In an opinion piece for the New York Post, Bolton condemned Biden's comments in which he appeared to suggest Russia making a "minor incursion" into the neighboring country will not result in a full intervention by the U.S.

Bolton also said that Biden's current tactic of waiting for Putin to move first before deciding with NATO how to react is sure to backfire, saying that the White House "still fails to comprehend that Putin need not conduct an all-out invasion of Ukraine" to gain significant advantages.

Bolton wrote that Biden's "inadequate and now incoherent policy" is not "deterring Russian military action" towards Ukraine and "timidity simply incentivizes Putin" to increase his demands.

"Playing small ball with Putin, as Biden is doing, will not durably protect Ukraine or other endangered states," Bolton wrote. "We risk a downward spiral of NATO concessions to avoid military conflict today, but which will only increase its likelihood soon thereafter."

Bolton, who also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006, said Biden must actually put pressure on Putin by way of tough sanctions in order to deter military conflict, such as joining other NATO allied countries in threatening to halt the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if Russian troops enter Ukraine.

The proposed pipeline will take gas from Russia to mainland Europe via the Baltic Sea, circumventing Ukraine and depriving the country of energy transit fees.

"The last hope is that Biden immediately reverses course and seizes the initiative and insist the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline never operate until Russian troops leave any country that does not want them," Bolton said.

"Urgently required are more weapons and more NATO troops, not to fight but to train and exercise with Ukrainians, thereby increasing Moscow's uncertainty and risk. So doing, of course, requires strength from the Europeans, especially France and Germany, that they may well lack. This is Putin's calculus, which Biden's statements and last week's negotiations did not change. Time is on Putin's side."

The president had been highly criticized by a number of Republicans and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over his remarks that a "minor incursion" from Russia may not trigger a full response.

"We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations," Zelensky tweeted on January 20. "Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power."

K.T. McFarland, former deputy national security adviser to Trump, told Fox News that Biden's remarks were a "green light" for Putin to invade Ukraine.

"When President Biden last week seemed to give him even a bigger green light and a signal, well, I think Vladimir Putin can do anything right now. He could invade. He could have a hybrid war, but he will get his objective one way or the other, either today or within the next year," McFarland said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki later clarified Biden's remarks, stating that any Russian military forces moving across the Ukraine border will be considered a "renewed invasion" and will be met with a "swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies."

The White House has been contacted for comment.

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John Bolton (R) has said Joe Biden's "timidity simply incentivizes" Vladimir Putin amid ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine. SAUL LOEB-AFP/YURI KADOBNOV-AFP/Getty Images