President Joe Biden said Friday that U.S. intelligence has determined Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to send his forces into Ukraine, likely within the next week.
President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 18, … [+] 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
“As of this moment I’m convinced he made the decision,” Biden said in a televised address Friday afternoon.
Russia is actively leading a disinformation campaign as pretext for an invasion, Biden said, including falsely blaming an uptick in violence in eastern Ukraine on Ukrainian forces.
Biden said it “defies basic logic” that Ukraine would provoke Russia while 150,000 Russian troops are surrounding the country on multiple sides.
The president said the U.S. and its allies are “prepared to defend every square inch” of NATO territory, but reiterated American troops will not be sent to fight in Ukraine.
“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week … in the coming days,” Biden said, citing the “significant intelligence capability” of the United States.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have escalated significantly in recent days, which is especially apparent in the easternmost part of Ukraine, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatists. The leader of the rebel group that controls the area has called for a mass evacuation of residents to Russia, saying a Ukrainian attack is imminent—a claim Ukrainian and Western officials have flatly denied. Russia has also continued ramping up the number of troops it has along the border, according to U.S. intelligence, despite the Kremlin’s claim to be drawing down forces.
What To Watch For
Biden said “it is not too late” for Russia to “deescalate and return to the negotiating table,” adding that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian diplomats have agreed to meet on February 24. If Russia invades, however, Biden says it will be clear they have “slammed the door shut on diplomacy.”
Car Bombing Reported In Separatist East Ukraine Amid Fears Of False Flag Attack To Justify Russian Invasion (Forbes)
Biden Says Russian Invasion Of Ukraine Remains ‘Possibility’ With U.S. Yet To See Signs Putin Is Withdrawing Troops As Claimed (Forbes)