NEW YORK (Aftenposten): The President of the United States gave a speech on the extremely tense situation in and around Ukraine.
“If Russia carries out its plans, they will be responsible for a catastrophic and unnecessary self-war,” Joe Biden said in a speech at the White House Friday afternoon.
He reiterated what administration officials have said repeatedly over the past week: they believe Russian forces will attack Ukraine within a few days.
Do you have any indication of whether President Vladimir Putin made the decision to invade? asked a reporter.
– For the time being I am convinced that he made the decision. Biden replied, We have reason to believe so.
He says that the United States has information indicating that the Russians will attack the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. Biden said it would affect “2.8 million innocent people.”
Up to 190,000 soldiers
Prior to the speech, Biden held a video conference with a number of European allies and NATO President Jens Stoltenberg.
The meeting lasted just over three-quarters of an hour.
“We confirmed that we are ready to impose heavy costs on Russia if they decide to further conflict,” Biden wrote on Twitter.
The situation in and around Ukraine has become increasingly tense. While the Russians claim that they are withdrawing their forces, the United States believes it has evidence of the exact opposite.
Russia now has between 169,000 and 190,000 troops deployed in the border areas, according to the US ambassador to Osei.
Along the front line between Ukraine and the Russian-backed breakaway republics, Donetsk and Luhansk, a number of ceasefire violations were reported.
– Breaks with basic logic
At the same time, commanders in the two regions ordered mass evacuations of civilians to Russia. They claim that the Ukrainian army is planning a major attack on the separatist republics. However, this was categorically rejected by the Ukrainian Defense Minister, who believes that this claim is used to give Russia an excuse to attack.
In his speech, Biden accused the Russians of spreading misinformation and lies.
“It goes against basic logic to think that this time the Ukrainians, with more than 150,000 soldiers lined up on their border, will choose to escalate the years-long conflict,” the president said.
Fear of imaginary horror
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken listed a number of potential excuses Russia could use for an invasion, such as phantom terrorist attacks or alleged discoveries of mass graves.
However, talks between the United States and Russia appear to be continuing.
And the White House announced on Friday afternoon that Blinken will meet his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday next week.
It is not too late to return to the negotiating table. But if Russia did something military before that, they closed the door to diplomacy. Then they choose war, and they will pay a heavy price, says Biden.