Biden says he expects Putin to pull off Ukraine invasion in days

He spoke to reporters as he left the White House for a trip to Ohio.

President Joe Biden said Thursday he expects Russian President Vladimir Putin to carry out an invasion of Ukraine within days.

“I have a feeling that will happen in the next few days,” he told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega as he left the White House for a trip to Ohio.

Biden told reporters the threat of an invasion was “very high.”

“They didn’t move any of their troops. They moved more troops,” he said. “We have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false flag operation, to have an excuse to enter. All indications we have is that they are ready to enter Ukraine and attack Ukraine .”

A senior administration official said late Wednesday that the Kremlin had added about 7,000 troops near the Ukrainian border in recent days — “some having arrived as recently as today” — putting the number of Russian forces close to Ukraine above the 150,000 figure cited by Biden in an address to the nation on Tuesday.

At the same time, Biden reiterated there was still a path to diplomacy, but said he had no plans to hold a call with Putin.

“That’s why I asked Secretary Blinken to come to the UN to make his statement today,” he said, referring to Secretary of State Antony Blinken changing his plans at the last minute to address the UN Security Council. “He will explain what this path is. I also made a path to Putin… There is a path, there is a way through this.”

Even as Russia delivered its written response to U.S.-NATO talks proposals on Thursday, a senior administration official dismissed Russian diplomacy, so far, as dishonest, to reporters during a briefing. a previous call.

“Every indication we have now is that they only want to pretend to engage in diplomacy, where they publicly offer to speak and make statements about de-escalation – while privately mobilizing for war,” the manager said.

For days the Kremlin has claimed to be withdrawing Russian forces after completing military ‘exercises’, but US security analysts have said it appears Russian troops are moving and multiplying, with the ability to overrun the Ukraine at any time. Russian leaders, meanwhile, have accused the West of creating “hysteria” over the situation on the Ukrainian border.

The buildup of Russian forces has prompted the largest concentration of troops in Europe since the Cold War, the NATO secretary general said on Wednesday.

Biden warned Putin in remarks from the White House earlier this week that if Russia invades Ukraine, the United States stands ready to respond decisively and in unison with NATO allies.

“If Russia attacks Ukraine, it will be met with overwhelming international condemnation,” Biden said. “The world will not forget that Russia chose unnecessary death and destruction. Invading Ukraine will prove to be a self-inflicted wound. The United States and our allies and partners will respond decisively. The West is plain and galvanized.”

Explaining US involvement in the region, Biden told the American people, “It’s not just about Russia and Ukraine.”

“This is about standing up for what we believe in, for the future we want for our world, for freedom, for freedom, the right of countless countries to choose their own destiny. And the right of peoples to determine their own future, or the principle that a country cannot change its neighbor’s borders by force,” Biden said. “If we don’t defend freedom where it is threatened today, we will surely pay a higher price tomorrow.”

ABC News

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