Controversy Over Report: Biden Called Zelensky and Said 'Brace' for Invasion

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Here’s an interesting question: when it comes down to believing CNN or Joe Biden, if what they are saying is conflicting, who do you believe? That might be a tough choice, given the proclivity of both for lying.

CNN reports that during a call Joe Biden made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, Biden warned him that an invasion was almost certain.

“A Russian invasion is now virtually certain once the ground freezes, Biden said to Zelensky, a senior Ukrainian official told [CNN reporter Matthew Chance],” tweeted fellow CNN reporter Alexander Marquardt.

“Kyiv could be ‘sacked,’ Russian forces may attempt to occupy it, ‘prepare for impact’, Biden said, according to this official,” Marquardt went on.

The report further said that Biden told Zelensky that he would not be getting significantly more military help, that there would be no U.S. troops sent to Ukraine to defend it, also no sophisticated weapons, no progress on NATO, and no further sanctions on Russia unless they invade.

National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne called the report “completely false,” according to CNN anchor and chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.

If you look at those two things together, I don’t think they’re necessarily fully contradictory. Horne is more or less conceding they talked about an invasion coming in February, just that Biden didn’t use the word “sacked” to describe what might happen and that might be an interpretation of what Biden said using other words. And we know Joe Biden is not exactly temperate in his words and could pretty much say anything — whether it makes sense or not.

CNN reported that Zelensky was going to tell Biden to tone down his language about the threat, that Ukraine believes is a possibility but not a certainty. According to the Independent UK, CNN said Zelensky fears “panic and economic impacts of Mr Biden’s language, which even before Thursday had centred on hyping up the severity of the threat Ukraine faces.”

In other words, by all the hyping of the threat, Biden is also hurting Ukraine.

Buzzfeed’s Christopher Miller, who has been covering Ukraine for years and has great sources there, said his sources basically confirmed CNN’s report.

Neither the official statements from the U.S. nor Ukraine included the things alleged in the CNN report.

Here’s what Zelensky said about the call.

This statement from the Ukrainian Embassy says “some” reports are completely false.

The problem of course is that both Ukraine and the Biden team have reason to not include Biden’s comments, if he said them. The Biden team wouldn’t want another Biden gaffe out there, and Ukraine needs assistance so they’re not going to do anything big to throw Biden under the bus at this point. Plus, it again would appear to be ratcheting up the situation. As we reported earlier on Thursday, the Biden team threatened to cut off the Nord Stream 2 pipeline if Russia invaded, in addition to promising more sanctions.

The GOP House Judiciary members are now calling for a release of the call transcript.

As always with Biden, what a mess.