As tensions — and indeed panic — over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine continued to mount over the weekend, President Joe Biden reversed course and canceled a planned trip to his home state of Delaware to remain in Washington, D.C., as Fox News reports.
According to the outlet, the president had planned to leave for Delaware on Sunday to handle an undisclosed family-related matter, even though his initial agenda for the weekend had him staying in the nation’s capital.
However, as the crisis involving Russia and Ukraine continued to worsen, Biden met with national security staff and conferred with French President Emmanuel Macron, putting his travel plans on the back burner for the time being.
The situation seemed to intensify on Monday, with Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing his decision to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, two regions in eastern Ukraine that have broken away from that country’s leadership, as ABC News noted.
In response, White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated that Biden is poised to issue a series of sanctions against Russia via executive order “that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called [Donetsk] and [Luhansk] regions of Ukraine.”
Psaki went on to add that the measures “are separate from and would be in addition to the swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with Allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine.”
Interestingly, as Fox News further noted, CNN chief national security correspondent and former Obama administration official Jim Sciutto – typically a reliable pro-Biden voice – responded to Psaki’s statement by asking, simply, “Is this really it?”
Though reports late Sunday night suggested that Biden and Putin had agreed in principle to meet in order to discuss “security and strategic stability in Europe,” with American participation contingent on an absence of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin indicated that no firm plans for such a conversation have been made.
Putin appeared to up the ante on those opposed to his apparent designs on Ukraine on Monday, declaring former Soviet Leader Nikita Khruschev’s decision to grant that country independent status decades ago a mistake and “madness,” and even though Biden decided now was not the time to retreat to Delaware, confidence in his ability to outmaneuver his Russian counterpart is, sadly, running quite short.