WASHINGTON –President Joe Biden said Friday that the United States believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to carry out an attack on Ukraine “in the coming days.”
“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week, in the coming days,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people.”
The stunning revelation comes as an extraordinary number of Russian forces advance on Ukraine’s northern and eastern flank.
The increased military presence mimics Russia’s playbook ahead of its 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea, which sparked international uproar and triggered sanctions against Moscow.
The Biden administration has previously declined to predict Putin’s playbook despite nearly half of Russia’s military deployed to Ukraine’s borders. When asked, Biden said that there was still time for Putin to choose a path of diplomacy.
In his second address this week, Biden reiterated U.S. commitment to defending NATO allies should the crisis on Ukraine’s border with Russia spill over into an all-out war.
“The United States and our allies are prepared to defend every inch of NATO territory from any threat to our collective security,” Biden said, evoking the alliance’s Article 5 rule.
A cornerstone of the 30-member alliance is the principle of collective defense, known as Article 5, which states that an attack on one NATO country is an attack on all allies.
The Kremlin has denied that the more than 150,000 Russian troops outfitted with advanced military equipment along Ukraine’s borders are preparing for an invasion.
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.