Washington – Dramatic, clear words from US President Joe Biden (79).
According to Biden, Russia plans to attack Ukraine “in the coming days”, including the populous capital Kiev.
“I am convinced that he made the decision,” Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the White House on Friday.
“We have reason to assume so.” But Russia still has the choice between a “catastrophic and senseless war” and “diplomacy”.
The reasons for Biden’s change of heart, according to CNN:
► “In recent days we have seen reports of a sharp increase in ceasefire violations by Russian-backed militants trying to provoke Ukraine in the Donbass,” Biden said in Washington.
► In addition, there are ongoing, “false claims” from the Russian side about an alleged genocide in the Donbass region, according to Biden.
► A massive cyber attack especially on Ukrainian banks this week. There is technical evidence that allows a connection to the Russian secret service “GRU”, according to the President, according to “CNN”.
► Then there are the Russian troops on the border, whose numbers have increased. “Russia is likely to have massed between 169,000 and 190,000 troops in and near Ukraine, compared to around 100,000 on January 30,” said US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, Michael Carpenter , in a statement at the OSCE session.
This includes Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders as well as Russian-led forces in eastern Ukraine, which were not included in previous US assessments of Russian strength in the area.
Conclusion US President Joe Biden: There are “all the signs of a Russian invasion of Ukraine “in the next few days”. When asked whether there will be a Russian attack: “Yes. My feeling tells me that there will be in will happen in the next few days.”
It is the US President’s clearest statement to date on Putin’s alleged plans for an attack. For weeks, the USA has been warning of an imminent invasion by Russian forces in the neighboring country.
In the meantime, the NATO commander-in-chief in Europe has increased the operational readiness of thousands of soldiers because of the Russian crisis.
Russia has concentrated around 150,000 soldiers on Russian territory on the border with Ukraine.