President Joe Biden swiftly shut down Fox News reporter Peter Doocy after Doocy suggested that he had "underestimated" Russian President Vladimir Putin before Putin ordered Russian forces to invade Ukraine.
Doocy's question came as many Western nations ordered sanctions against Putin and his associates in an effort to stifle Russia's position in the global financial markets as punishment for the invasion.
You can hear Biden's response in the video below.
After Doocy asked if the President and his administration had underestimated Putin and considered him a "worthy adversary," Biden stressed that his feelings about Putin have remained consistent:
“At the time, I made it clear he was an adversary. I didn’t underestimate him."
"I have read almost everything he has written. You heard the speech he made, almost an hour’s worth of speeches as to why he’s going to Ukraine. He has much larger ambitions."
"He wants to re-establish the former Soviet Union. That is what this is about. I think that his ambitions are completely contrary to the place where the rest of the world has arrived.”
Biden's assessment is correct.
In the weeks before the invasion, Russia had issued several security demands the United States and its allies rejected.
Putin aims to curtail the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), seeking to bar Ukraine from joining the alliance in a bid to assert Russia’s influence over its neighbors, aspirations that gained further prominence after Putin seized the Crimean Penninsula in 2014.
Although Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO, it is partnered with the military alliance. This development angered Putin, who views Ukraine not as an independent nation but as land lost as a result of the end of the Cold War, which resulted in the Soviet Union's collapse and diminished Russia's superpower status.
Putin had left world leaders guessing as to whether or not he actually wanted to proceed with an invasion though he clearly wants NATO to curb military exercises in Ukraine and in other former Soviet satellite states, demands that resulted in a diplomatic stalemate.
Many have praised Biden for his frankness and criticized Doocy, who is known for asking often pointed questions in his interactions with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Yesterday, President Biden imposed new sanctions against Russia that would target “investment, trade, and financing” that have been designed to maximize a "long term impact" on Russia's ability to participate in financial markets.
The new sanctions impact four large Russian banks including VTB and SberBank, and certain Russian elites and their family members. Restrictions also affect Russia's sovereign debt to state-owned enterprises.
The sanctions were announced after a meeting of the Group of Seven (G-7) leaders about Russia’s attack concluded.
President Biden was joined on the virtual call by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.
Also on the call were the leaders of the European Commission and European Council as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Biden had earlier condemned Putin's attack, accusing him of choosing "a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering."