Biden Warns Putin Will Attack Ukraine Soon; POTUS Calls Other Leaders – Deadline

“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week, the coming days,” Joe Biden said unequivocally Friday for the first time after weeks of looming crisis in the former USSR.

“We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people,” Biden went on to say in dire terms, clearly preparing the US for the clash between Vladimir Putin’s forces and Ukraine, with NATO poised to become involved. “We are calling out Russia’s plans loudly and repeatedly, not because we want a conflict but because we’re doing everything in our power to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine.”

“The entire free world is united,” Biden declared.

“As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision,” the president asserted of Putin’s mind-set, speaking during a short back and forth with reporters from the White House’s Roosevelt Room after his formal remarks. “As of this moment, there’s reason to believe that,” Biden added, noting “considerable intelligence” reports. Biden also was again clear that there would be no US troops with boots on the ground in Ukraine, at least not yet.

With tensions and clashes escalating in eastern Ukraine, Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Tony Blinken are meeting face-to-face with European leaders today at the Munich Security Conference. Worth noting that Putin and his top aides are not attending the annual shindig, instead overseeing military drills of his nation’s nuclear forces this weekend.

Secretary Blinken is set to sit down with his Russian equal on February 24, but from the stern tone Biden took today, it seems a war in Ukraine will be underway by the date of that high level meeting.

Still, with many hesitant to believe war will truly occur, American warnings of an imminent move by the 150,000 Russian troops hovering on the border with the former Soviet jurisdiction have passed several dates in the last few weeks. Subsequent shelling and cyberattacks on Ukraine in the past few days have only increased tension around a possible incursion from the nation’s Putin-led neighbor.

Biden’s speech was penciled in to start at 4 pm ET, right after a somewhat unsteady Wall Street closed for the long Presidents’ Day weekend. No surprise for a White House that constantly runs late, POTUS did not walk up to the podium until 4:54 pm

Friday’s remarks from the White House today were covered live by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and BBC World News.

Just like earlier in the week, ABC and Fox across the country took the Biden’s latest Ukraine speech live. NBC News did have a Special Report, but on the West Coast, affiliates stayed with the network’s Olympics coverage again. It was a similar situation on CBS too. The network covered the President’s comments live, but out in Los Angeles, syndicated daytimer The Talk was on the air.

Seasoned in foreign affairs from his decades in the Senate and as Barack Obama’s VP, Biden seemsingly made sure his coalition against Russia remained tight. Just before stepping in front of the cameras this afternoon, POTUS held a call on the current state of affairs with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Andrzej Duda of Poland, President Klaus Iohannis of Romania, and UK PM Boris Johnson were also on the transatlantic call.

In recent days, Russia has hosted a slew of leaders and diplomats coming to Moscow seeking peace. At the same time, the country has insisted it is actually pulling back its forces from the Ukrainian border. However, America and a number of its allies have said they have seen no significant retreat of Russian troops.

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