President Joe Biden said Friday he expects tension between Russia and Ukraine to escalate.
During Friday’s press briefing, Biden told the media he is convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to invade Ukraine.
“We have significant intelligence capability,” Biden said when asked for the reason he has to base that opinion.
Biden said claims by Russian media about “phoney allegations of a genocide” happening in the Donbas and pushing “fabricated claims warning about Ukraine’s attack on Russia” is without any evidence.
“All these are consistent with the playbook the Russians have used before,” Biden said. “To set up a false justification to act against Ukraine.”
Ukraine has shown “great judgment,” Biden added.
“They’ve refused to allow the Russians to bait them into war,” he said. “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.”
Biden said if Russia pursues its plans, then Russia will be responsible for a “catastrophic and needless war of choice.”
While America will not send troops in to fight in Ukraine, Biden said the U.S. will continue to support the Ukrainian people.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on Feb. 24. But, Biden warned, Russian military action prior to Feb. 24 will “slam the door shut on diplomacy.”
Biden was asked if he had any indication on whether Putin has made the decision to invade.
“As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision,” Biden said. “We have reason to believe that.”