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Biden believes Putin has decided to invade Ukraine

“But if Russia takes military action before that date, it will be clear that they have slammed the door shut on diplomacy”

New Delhi: US President Joe Biden on Friday (local time) said that he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine.

Speaking about the latest developments at the White House over Russia-Ukraine crisis, Biden said, “As of this moment, I am convinced he’s made the decision.” Biden previously stated he did not believe the Russian leader had made up his mind but acknowledged his insights into Putin’s thinking were limited.

In previous appearances over the past month, Biden has suggested that Putin’s thinking was a mystery to almost everyone, indicating even top Russian advisers were in the dark as to his intentions.

Friday’s comments marked a significant shift in the President’s view and a far more definitive stance on his counterpart’s plans.

After his initial answer, Biden has pressed again whether he was convinced Putin had determined to go ahead with an invasion.

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“Yes,” Biden said.

“We have reason to believe that Russian forces intend to attack Ukraine in the coming days. We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital Kiev,” he added.

“We’re calling out Russia’s plans loudly 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,” said the US President.

Biden said there has been an uptick in Russian disinformation that could be used as a pretext for an invasion into Ukraine.

He said reports pushed to the Russian public that Ukraine is planning to launch an attack in separatist-controlled Donbas lacked evidence. He said those claims defied logic.
“All of these are consistent with the playbook the Russians have used before,” Biden said.


“This is also in line with the pretext scenario that the United States and our allies and partners have been warning about for weeks,” Biden went on.
He said the US had seen an uptick in violations of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

Biden once again warned Russia of possible consequences if an invasion of Ukraine occurred, but said: “It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”

“The bottom line is this. The United States and our allies and partners will support the Ukrainian people. We will hold Russia accountable for its actions. The West is united and resolved. We’re ready to impose severe sanctions on Russia if it further invades,” Biden said.

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“Russia can still choose diplomacy. It is not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table,” he said.

Biden noted that Russia agreed that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov should meet on February 24 in Europe.

“But if Russia takes military action before that date, it will be clear that they have slammed the door shut on diplomacy,” he warned.

“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 more outrage the rest of the world will visit upon them,” he added.