Donald Trump Says Joe Biden's Remarks Gave Russia the 'Green Light' on Ukraine

Donald Trump has accused President Joe Biden of giving Russia the "green light" to invade Ukraine.

Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, the former president criticized Biden's remarks during a press conference about the buildup of Russian troops next to the border with Ukraine.

Biden suggested on Wednesday that a "minor incursion" ordered by President Vladimir Putin would result in a softer response from Washington than a full-scale invasion. The comments sparked alarm in Kyiv and were quickly walked back by the White House.

Trump told Fox host Sean Hannity: "Really what he said last night when he said, 'They may go in, they will go in,' and he talked about a minor incursion. I said, 'I don't believe he said that,' because that's like giving them, they use the term 'green light.' He was green-lighted."

He added that the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, "could not believe what he heard. He couldn't believe what he heard, and I couldn't believe what — it's whether you are for strong stoppage or not, you're really telling them 'You might as well go in.'"

Zelensky tweeted on Thursday that "there are no minor incursions."

Biden later clarified his remarks, telling reporters that if any "assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion."

He added: "It will be met with [a] severe and coordinated economic response that I've discussed in detail with our allies as well as laid out very clearly for President Putin. But there is no doubt—let there be no doubt at all—that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price."

During the Fox News interview, Trump also suggested that Biden should be doing more to de-escalate tensions as the number of Russian troops massed at the border nears 130,000.

"You also can't just talk in terms of sanctions. Sanctions don't mean too much to Russia. If you want to stop somebody, you are not going to just be talking about sanctions," Trump said.

"But he really told them 'Go in.' I think this is a whole different ball game right now."

The former president added" "If you look at what's going on with Russia and Ukraine, what they've done at the border, they've loaded up with soldiers—that would've never happened with me. I had a very good relationship with Putin."

As fears mount over a potential invasion, an opposition politician from Ukraine has suggested how President Zelensky will respond in the event of conflict.

"I know for sure that those in power, who led the country to a situation with the threat of war, will definitely stand aside or the first convenient plane will leave its borders with their families," Illia Kyva wrote on the encrypted messaging app Telegram.

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to meet Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva for talks on Ukraine.

Former President Donald Trump
Donald Trump boards Air Force One on January 12, 2021. Trump told Sean Hannity that tensions between Russia and Ukraine would not have escalated if he were still in the White House, because of his good relationship with Vladimir Putin. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images