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Russian invasion of Ukraine may be imminent, President Joe Biden warns during a press conference just before 5 PM ET Friday in the Roosevelt Room at The White House.
“Today, I made two vital calls [with leaders], as I’ve been making for some months now — two vital calls that — on the situation in Russia and Ukraine,” Biden said, adding “The first was to a bipartisan group of members of Congress who are currently representing the United States, along with Vice President Harris at the Munich Security Conference.”
Vice President Kamala Harris is attending the Munich Security Conference, which opened this year without the presence of the Russian delegation. The diplomatic forum, held this year under the shadow of the Ukrainian crisis, has brought together delegates from around the world.
The President continued, “The second was the latest in a series of calls over the past many months with the heads of state of our NATO Allies and the European Union to bring them up to date on what the United States thinks is the current state of affairs, and what’s likely to happen in Ukraine in the coming days, to ensure that we continue to remain in lockstep — that is the European Union and NATO.
There have been several reports in the last few days that Russian-backed fighters are violating the ceasefire in the Donbas in order to provoke Ukraine.
According to The White House, disinformation is being distributed to the Russian public, including Russia-backed separatists, claiming that Ukraine is planning to launch a massive offensive attack in the Donbas. Moreover, Russian state media continues to perpetuate fabricated stories about a genocide in Donbas and warn about Ukraine’s attack on Russia without providing any evidence.
However, President Joe Biden also said this earlier on Friday: “There is simply no evidence of these assertions,” allegations that Ukrainians would choose violence.
Yesterday, Russian officials falsely claimed that Ukraine had shelled a kindergarten.
Meanwhile, intelligence agencies show an array of 150,000 Russian troops positioned on the eastern Ukraine border.
“All these are consistent with the playbook the Russians have used before: to set up a false justification to act against Ukraine. This is also in line with the pretext scenarios that the United States and our Allies and partners have been warning about for weeks,” the President explained.
Furthermore, President Joe Biden said Friday that Ukrainian forces have displayed a great deal of restraint, despite Russian troops organizing at their borders to escalate.
The President also said that he’s convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine could be imminent.
“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week — in the coming days. We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people.”
If Russia pursues its ready to impose plans, it will be responsible for a catastrophic and unnecessary decision the President warns.
In addition, the United States and its allies are prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory from any threat to their collective security. Nevertheless, Biden also stands by what he said earlier this week, that the US will not send troops to fight in Ukraine, but that the US will continue supporting the Ukrainian people. He plans to hold the Russian government accountable by imposing severe sanctions on the nation should it choose this moment to invade.
Ukraine received a record amount of security assistance from the United States this past year – $650 million, which included Javelin missiles and ammunition. As well as humanitarian aid and economic support in the amount of $500 million in the past.
“Russia can still choose diplomacy. It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”
But when asked why he thought Putin was considering diplomacy at all, President Joe Bide referenced America’s significant intelligence capability.
“Last night, Russia agreed that Secretary of State Blinken and Foreign Minister Lavrov should meet on Feb- — on February 24th — February 24th in Europe. But if Russia takes military action before that date, it will be clear that they have slammed the door shut on diplomacy. They will have — they will have chosen war, and they will pay a steep price for doing so — not only from the sanctions that we and our allies will impose on Russia, but the moral outrage that the rest of the world will visit upon them,” the President firmly asserted.
White House officials noted that they believed Russian officials had not yet made a decision about whether to invade or not. President Biden said today, however, that he believes Putin has made up his mind to invade Ukraine.