“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week, in the coming days,” Biden said Friday during a White House press conference. “We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people. We’re calling out Russia’s plans loudly and repeatedly not because we want a conflict, but because we’re doing everything in our power to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine and prevent them from moving.”
Over the past several weeks, Biden and U.S. officials said they were unsure whether Russia would move forward with the invasion; however, Biden said he was now certain of Putin’s intentions because of the U.S.’s “significant intelligence capability.”
“As of this moment I’m convinced he’s made the decision,” Biden said. “We have reason to believe that.”
On Friday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed Russia had violated a ceasefire agreement in the Donbas region. Biden suggested the Russians were trying to pin the attacks on the Ukrainians as a way to falsely justify an invasion.
“Over the last few days, we’ve seen reports of a major uptick in violations of the ceasefire by Russian-backed fighters attempting to provoke Ukraine in the Donbas,” Biden said. “… It defies basic logic to believe the Ukrainians would choose this moment — with well over 150,000 troops arranged on its borders — to escalate a year-long conflict.”
The U.S. has said Russia intends to use false flag operations to “bait” Ukraine into war.
Biden expressed confidence that the situation could be resolved at the negotiation table.
“Diplomacy is always a possibility,” he said.