The update from President Joe Biden on Friday afternoon is that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made up his mind about invading Ukraine.
He even stipulated to reporters that the offers of further peace negotiations were still on the table, anyway, in the meantime.
“You are convinced that President Putin is going to invade Ukraine?” asked a reporter. “Yes,” confirmed Biden.
“What reason do you have to believe he’s considering that option at all?”
“We have a significant intelligence capability,” Biden responded before ending the presser.
The Friday speech from Biden about the Ukraine – Russia conflict came as recent military movements over the past few days made Russia’s invasion seem inevitable. Despite alleged efforts to shake-up NATO relations from Russia’s side, Biden told Americans that relations between the US and other allies were currently strong.
Biden publicly doubts Putin’s willingness to introduce nuclear weapons into the mix, even though the Russian leader previously touted it.
The Luhansk People’s Republic rebellion in the Donbass portion of Ukraine reported heavy shelling on Thursday that both the US and Russia are citing as an escalation of the conflict.
Biden in his speech said it was false to blame Ukraine for the shelling in the Donbass area, saying that a kindergarten and school were struck in the volleys.
Russian state media, specifically Russian government official Maria Zakharova in responding to Biden’s speech, accused the US president of not acknowledging the true and immediate dangers facing civilians as they evacuate the Donbass area.
It has since sparked a mass evacuation from east Ukraine by rebels, according to Reuters.
Deputy National Security Advisor and cybersecurity official for the White House Anne Neuberger told reporters on Friday that the US believes Russia is behind recent “cyberattacks” this week that targeted Ukraine’s defense ministry and their banking sector.
UK officials on Friday announced that they too are now moving their embassy out of the Ukranian capital of Kyiv, and mirrored earlier warnings by the US in telling UK nationals residing in Ukraine to leave as soon as possible.
Pundits say that the previous stance from the White House was that Putin was still undecided on the matter. But now they say that has changed. This is the second time Biden has personally addressed the Ukraine situation, as this past Tuesday he expressed uncertainties about Russia’s plans.
Ambassador Michael Carpenter recently cited the buildup of Russia’s military as a sign of probable aggression. “Russia probably has massed between 169,000-190,000 personnel in and near Ukraine as compared with about 100,000 on January 30,” Carpenter said in a recent OSCE meeting according to CNN.
Another point of interest was who would be attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Whereas the arrival of US Vice President Kamala Harris seemed evident, there were questions as to if Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would leave his home country, personally.
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