VP Kamala Harris Acknowledges ‘the Real Possibility of War’ in Europe
- Vice President Harris said that the world was facing “the real possibility of war in Europe.”
- Harris said the Biden administration is still aiming for a “diplomatic end to this moment.”
- Biden on Friday said he was “convinced” that Vladimir Putin had made the decision to invade Ukraine.
Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday acknowledged that the world was facing “the real possibility of war in Europe,” while stating the United States could “incur some cost” if Russia decided to invade Ukraine.
At the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany, Harris sought to convey to US allies that the deteriorating situation at the Ukraine-Russia border signaled that European security is being threatened, while adding that sanctions should be imposed for the Kremlin if it overruns its neighbor.
“We’re talking about the potential for war in Europe. I mean, let’s really take a moment to understand the significance of what we’re talking about,” she told reporters in Munich.
She continued: “It’s been over 70 years, and through those 70 years … there has been peace and security. We are talking about the real possibility of war in Europe.”
President Joe Biden on Sunday planned to huddle with his national security team to review the situation, with Harris set to join the group upon her return from Germany.
Before leaving the conference, the vice president spoke with Biden’s team about her meetings and conversations while at the event, according to the Associated Press.
Biden during a Friday press conference at the White House said he was “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made the decision to invade Ukraine.
“We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people,” the president said. “We’re calling out Russia’s plans loudly, repeatedly, not because we want a conflict, but because we’re doing everything in our power to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine and prevent them from moving.”
Biden is slated to conduct a virtual meeting with G7 leaders on Thursday regarding the situation in Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov scheduled to meet later this week contingent on Russia not invading the country.
Harris noted that the administration is still aiming for a “diplomatic end to this moment.”
She was then asked how Americans should brace themselves if warfare in Europe becomes a reality.
“When America stands for her principles and all of the things that we hold dear, it requires sometimes for us to put ourselves out there in a way that maybe we will incur some cost,” the vice president said. “In this situation, that may relate to energy costs. But we are taking very specific and appropriate, I believe, steps to mitigate what that cost might be if it happens.”
Harris also reiterated her support of sanctions against Russia if the country invades Ukraine after facing questions about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s desire for preemptive penalties.
“We don’t need your sanctions after the bombardment will happen, and after our country will be fired at or after we will have no borders or after we will have no economy or parts of our country will be occupied,” Zelensky stated at the conference regarding potential penalties post-invasion.
The vice president stated: “I strongly believe and remember also that the sanctions are a product not only of our perspective as the United States, but a shared perspective among our allies, and the allied relationship is such that we have agreed that the deterrence effect of these sanctions is still a meaningful one.”