President Biden said Friday that he is “convinced” Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the decision to invade Ukraine.
The president said he believes Russia will “target the capital city of Kyev.”
“As of this moment, I am convinced he’s made the decision, we have reason to believe that,” Biden said when asked if Putin had made the decision to invade Ukraine.
Following two “vital calls” on Friday, Biden said the “overwhelming message on both calls was one of determination, unity, and resolve,” but ultimately he believes an invasion is imminent.
As of this moment, I’m confident he has made the decision,” Biden said. “We have reason to believe that.”
Noting that “Russian troops have Ukraine surrounded,” Biden said American officials believe Russia will target Ukraine’s capital city Kyev.
“Over the last few days, we’ve seen reports of a major uptick in violations of the ceasefire by Russian-backed fighters attempting to provoke Ukraine in the Donbas,” Biden said, pointing to multiple examples of disinformation that he said have been spread by Russian state media, including a “phony” claim of genocide in the Donbas region.
Biden said the western front remains “united and resolved” amid the ongoing tension at Ukraine’s border.
Asked whether “diplomacy is off the table,” Biden said, “No, until he does [invade], diplomacy is always a possibility.”
Biden told reporters Thursday that he expected Putin to invade Ukraine in the “next several days.”
“They have not moved any of their troops out, they’ve moved more troops in, number one,” Biden said. “Number two, we have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in.”
“Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine,” Biden added, noting that a “diplomatic path is still available before the deadline.”
NEW: Asked if he thinks Pres. Zelenskyy should leave Ukraine amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion, Pres. Biden says, "That's a judgement for him to make…In the pursuit of a diplomatic solution, it may be the wise choice. But it's his decision." https://t.co/NARSE4qzfN pic.twitter.com/aEYqCp2A8P— ABC News (@ABC) February 18, 2022