Biden warns Russia will pay 'severe price' if chemical weapons are used

White House officials are refusing to discuss what specific retaliation to such an attack would look like.

Updated: March 11, 2022 - 11:28am

On Friday, President Joe Biden warned that Russia will pay a significant price if it launches chemical weapons during its ongoing attacks on Ukraine.

"I’m not going to speak about the intelligence ... but Russia would pay a severe price if they use chemical weapons," said the president. 

It is unclear if the president means the U.S. become involved militarily in the conflict. 

Biden administration officials have murmured these last days that Russia will escalate its war on Ukraine by using chemical weapons, and have suggested that Vladimir Putin has been laying the ground work for such an attack. 

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Thursday that the administration would not discuss hypotheticals, but that Russia does have the "capacity and capability" to launch such an attack. 

She added, however, that Biden's intention to send U.S. troops into Ukraine has not changed, and would not offer a hard red line for what Russia might do to change that position. 

"With the U.S. military going and engaging in Ukraine and fighting a war against Russia? We don't have any intention to do that," she said.