President Joe Biden on Friday said he is now convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the decision to invade Ukraine but emphasized that room for diplomacy remains.
“As of this moment, I am convinced he’s made the decision,” Biden said during remarks at the White House.
The President also said the US believes Russian forces intend to attack Ukraine “in the coming week” or sooner, and that an attack will target the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
After weeks of saying that the U.S. wasn’t sure if Mr. Putin had made the final decision to launch a widespread invasion, Mr. Biden said that assessment had changed. “As of this moment I’m convinced he’s made the decision,” Mr. Biden said. “We have reason to believe that.”
He cited the United States’ “significant intelligence capability” for the assessment.
Biden plans to spend the weekend monitoring the ongoing Ukraine crisis from the White House as he meets with his national security team and remains in close contact with world leaders, multiple officials say. Biden had considered traveling to Delaware, as he typically does, but decided to remain in Washington.
Throughout recent days, the Biden administration has publicly disclosed several intelligence details on Russian movements — a marked shift in how US national security officials typically operate. The administration’s decision to discuss their movements “loudly and repeatedly,” Biden said Friday inside the Roosevelt Room, was made “to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine and prevent them from moving.”
Mr. Biden reiterated his threat of massive economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia if it does invade, and pressed Mr. Putin to rethink his course of action. He said the U.S. and its Western allies were more united than ever to ensure Russia pays a price for the invasion.