President Joe Biden said Monday the Russian government’s unsubstantiated recent allegations that the U.S. and Ukraine are developing biological and chemical weapons are a “clear sign” Russia is considering using those weapons during its invasion of Ukraine.

Biden did not cite any evidence for this prediction, but in recent weeks, Biden Administration officials have suggested Russia’s claims about supposed U.S.-funded bioweapons labs in Ukraine could be a pretense for Russia to use those weapons. Biden also said Russian President Vladimir Putin may shift to more brutal tactics in Ukraine because “his back is against the wall,” amid stiff Ukrainian resistance and heavy Western sanctions.

“Whenever [Putin] starts talking about something he thinks NATO, Ukraine or the United States is about to do, it means he’s getting ready to do it,” Biden said during a speech at a Business Roundtable meeting Monday afternoon.

Biden warned Russia would face “severe consequences” if it uses biological or chemical weapons, though he didn’t specify how the United States and its allies will react.


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