In an interview with CNN, President Biden described Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “rational actor who miscalculated significantly” amid Moscow’s embarrassing losses and strategic missteps on the Ukrainian battlefield.
Biden sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper in which the host asked about the Russian leader.
“Do you think is a rational actor?” he asked the president.
Biden noted he doesn’t believe Putin is irrational but that his remarks as Moscow was preparing for its invasion of Ukraine were miscalculated.
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“If you listen to the speech he made after, when that decision was being made, he talked about the whole idea that he needed to be the leader of Russia, I just think it’s irrational,” he said. “I think his objective was not rational.”
“I think he thought he was going to be welcome with open arms,” he added. “That this was the home of mother Russia and Kyiv… I think he totally miscalculated.”
The Russian military has faced multiple setbacks since its Feb. 24 invasion amid intense fighting and an unanticipated resistance against western-backed Ukrainian forces. Biden’s remarks came after Ukraine took back Russian-held areas in the country’s east.
The failure of Russia to take the country has sparked uncommon criticism of Putin from within Moscow, prompting him to mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops and the firing of multiple generals. The announced mobilization resulted in many Russian military-age men to flee the country.
Aside from failures on the battlefield, the Biden administration has said Russian forces are woefully unprepared, poorly trained and have unsuitable equipment to take on a motivated Ukrainian fighting force.
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Putin recently accused Ukraine of committing terrorism after a truck exploded in the middle of the bridge connecting Crimea and Russia Saturday, killing three people. The holds important strategic value to Russia. In response, Russia has bombarded Ukraine with missile attacks.
The CNN interview with Biden will be shown in full at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday.