Ukraine President Says There Are 'No Minor Incursions' After Joe Biden's Russia Gaffe

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has said there are "no minor incursions" in a tweet posted after President Joe Biden used the phrase while discussing Western responses to the threat posed by Russia.

The White House scrambled to correct Biden's comments on Wednesday about the prospect of military action by Moscow, whose troops have massed alongside its border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion.

Biden had appeared to suggest that Western allies were not entirely united on how they would respond to a Russian move.

He told a news conference that "it's one thing if it's a minor incursion" and there is "a fight about what to do and not do," before saying: "If they actually do what they're capable of doing, with the force amassed on the border, it is going to be a disaster for Russia."

When asked to clarify the meaning of "minor incursion," the president said it would be "Russian forces crossing the border, killing Ukrainian fighters" and there were "differences in NATO as to what countries are willing to do."

Zelensky appeared to allude to Biden's comments—which sparked alarm in Kyiv—when he tweeted on Thursday: "We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations.

"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."

Biden's remark was criticized by GOP Senator Ben Sasse, who said it "gave Putin a green light to invade Ukraine" by referring to "the supposed insignificance of a 'minor incursion,'" Fox News reported.

Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has also expressed concern about how the comment will be interpreted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

"Speaking of minor and full incursions or full invasion, you cannot be half-aggressive," he told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

"This aggression was there since 2014," he added, referring to the year that Russia seized Crimea. Since then, conflict has raged in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. More than 13,000 people have died.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement on Wednesday, clarifying that if any Russian military forces moved across the Ukrainian border, "that's a renewed invasion, and it will be met with a swift, severe, and united response from the United States and our Allies."

After a week of negotiations between Russia, the U.S. and NATO failed to ease tensions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Friday.

Presidents Joe Biden and Volodmyr Zelensky
Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky are shown in this split image. The Ukrainian president tweeted that there were no "minor incursions" in an apparent response to a comment made by his U.S. counterpart. Getty