Biden: Putin Has Decided to Invade Ukraine

“We have reason to believe that Russian forces are planning and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week, coming days,” Biden said as he spoke shortly after convening a call with heads of state from European and NATO allies. Biden said the attack would target Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.

Biden’s warning, which he based on an intelligence finding that is not public, is a sharp escalation in the United States assessment of Putin’s plans. Until recently, U.S. officials signalled they believed the Russian leader had not yet made a call on whether to launch a renewed invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this week, Biden said an invasion was likely and that Russia could attack “within days,” but he did not explicitly state that Putin had made the decision.

Despite the warning, Biden said he still holds out hope for a diplomatic offramp to the crisis until the last point. “Until he does [invade], diplomacy is always a possibility,” he said. Russia has tentatively agreed to a U.S. invitation to hold talks between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Europe on Feb. 24.

If Russia invades before that point, Biden said, Putin will have “slammed the door shut on diplomacy” and will face stiff U.S.-led sanctions. On Friday, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh said U.S. sanctions in response to a Russian invasion would be “among the most severe financial sanctions that have ever been contemplated” but noted that removing Russia from SWIFT, the global financial messaging system, would likely not be included in any initial sanctions package. Russia is conducting drills with its nuclear forces this weekend, further raising the stakes of a Western showdown on Ukraine. However, Biden discounted the possibility of Putin using nuclear weapons in any invasion plan.

“I don’t think he is remotely contemplating using nuclear weapons, but I do think he is focused on trying to convince the world he has the ability to change the dynamics in Europe in a way that he cannot,” Biden said.

Speaking at the United Nations on Thursday, Blinken said Russia could plan to fabricate a supposed terrorist bombing inside Russia, mock the discovery of a mass grave, or stage a false or real attack with chemical weapons—all of which Russia would amplify through state-backed media channels. The United States anticipates that Russia may describe the actions as an act of ethnic cleansing or genocide by Ukraine, and Putin could claim he was forced to act to defend Russians on Ukrainian soil before launching devastating air and missile salvos, leading to a ground invasion.

Ukrainian and Western officials have repeatedly warned that Russia may attempt to stage a so-called false flag operation, manufacturing a crisis by either escalating the conflict in the Donbass or staging atrocities, to justify an invasion. Many observers fear that efforts to create such a pretext may already be underway.

By: Miss Sabina, TOT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *