Oct 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden: Putin is a "rational actor who has miscalculated" on Ukraine

Photo of Joe Biden speaking from a desk

President Biden delivers remarks at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Oct. 11, 2022 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Kevin Dietsch via Getty Images

President Biden said in an exclusive CNN interview Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a "rational actor who has miscalculated significantly" in his invasion of Ukraine.

Why it matters: Debate over whether Putin remains rational has reignited for the first time since Russian forces invaded Ukraine. Biden's comments come after Russia launched deadly missile strikes in Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday.

What he's saying: Though Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper that he believes Putin himself is rational, he emphasized that Putin's actions regarding Ukraine were not.

  • "If you listen to the speech he made after when that decision [of invading] was being made, he talked about the whole idea of — he was needed to be the leader of Russia that united all of Russian speakers. I mean, it’s just I just think it’s irrational," Biden said.
  • "I think the speech, his objectives were not rational," he added. "I think he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms, that this was the home of Mother Russia in Kyiv, and that where he was going to be welcomed, and I think he just totally miscalculated."
  • Biden spoke with Tapper after meeting with other G7 leaders and vowing to uphold support for Ukraine. The full interview will air Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

The big picture: China and India, two of Russia's biggest allies, have both called for de-escalation between Russian and Ukrainian forces after Russia's deadly missile strikes.

  • Ukraine's military has retaken roughly 200 square miles of territory from Russian forces since the beginning of October, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
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