In his address on Friday, President Biden said there are reasons to believe that the decision to invade Ukraine had been made by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision,” the president said at the White House. “We have reason to believe that.”
According to CBS, in brief remarks to reporters Friday afternoon, President Biden discussed possible further Russian aggression against Ukraine after he spoke with transatlantic leaders. Mr. Biden said the United States has “reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week — in the coming days.”
“To be clear, you are convinced — you are convinced that President Putin is going to invade Ukraine, is that what you just said a few moments ago?” CBS News senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang asked.
“Yes, I did. Yes,” he replied.
Despite this, Mr. Biden reiterated that diplomacy remains an option: “diplomacy is always a possibility,” Mr. Biden said.
According to U.S. officials, the cyberattacks against Ukraine that started this week are the work of Russia. The president’s remarks follow the confirmation of that fact by US officials. He added that the U.S. believes Putin will target Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, which has 2.8 million residents.
“We’re calling out Russia’s plans loudly and repeatedly, not because we want a conflict, but because we are doing everything in our power to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine and prevent them from moving,” Biden told reporters on Friday.
“Make no mistake. If Russia pursues its plans, it will be responsible for a catastrophic and needless war of choice. The United States and our allies are prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory from any threat to our collective security as well.”
Approximately 40-50% of the 150,000 Russian troops stationed along the Ukrainian border are now in “attack positions.” That means they are ready to fire as soon as they receive the order to do so. In all, there are 120-125 battalion tactical groups, and the official says the destabilization phase of the operation has begun.
Ukraine’s command-and-control network would likely be crippled by cyber-attacks and electronic warfare before a full-scale invasion takes place. In the aftermath, their key leadership installations would be destroyed by air and missile strikes. Assassinating senior government officials and seizing TV and radio stations may be part of commando raids. Bridges and airfields may be captured during airborne operations. To take down the country, the border forces would launch tanks and vehicles over the border. They would target major cities such as Kyiv. It is likely that the Ukrainian military would attempt to fight, but their efforts would quickly be reduced to pockets of resistance, which would last perhaps 10-15 days.
The Biden administration has been warning Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately, warning that U.S. troops will not be sent to rescue them if Russia attacks.
Aside from disputing Russian claims of genocide, the Ukrainian president also criticized its aggressive actions. It defies “basic logic” that Ukraine might escalate the conflict, the president said.
“All these are consistent with the playbook the Russians have used before — to set up a false justification to act against Ukraine,” he added.