Biden deems Putin a 'rational actor' amid nuclear threats
President Joe Biden referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "rational actor" amid growing fears of nuclear war spurred largely by such rhetoric from Moscow.
Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper, Biden said of Putin that "I think he is a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly," in reference to the invasion of Ukraine launched earlier this year.
He did, however, deride Putin's aim of unifying the Russian language speakers of the world and his previous expectations that Ukrainians would welcome Russian troops.
"You listen to what he says. If you listen to the speech he made after when that decision 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 told the CNN host. "I think the speech, his objectives were not rational. I think he thought, Jake, 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 previously asserted that the risk of nuclear war was the greatest since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, as the conflict continued. Faced with a string of setbacks on the battlefield, Putin has suggested Russia would unleash its nuclear arsenal should it need to do so to secure victory.
Much of southern Ukraine remains under Russian occupation, with Muscovite authorities organizing "sham" referendums on joining the Russian Federation in four partially occupied regions. Putin formally annexed them earlier this month.