President Joe Biden told CNN’s Jeremy Diamond he predicted Russia would attack Ukraine “in the next several days.”
The prediction follows U.S. State Ned Price’s statements that Russia was planning a false flag event.
Russia has repeatedly said it does not intend to invade Ukraine. Earlier this week, Russia said it was removing “some troops” from the Ukrainian border area, but thus far, troops have not been withdrawn.
On Thursday, when a CNN reporter asked Biden if he thought Russian would invade Ukraine, Biden replied:
The likelihood they will invade is “very high… It’s very high because they have not moved any of their troops out. They have moved more troops in, number one. Number two, we have reason to believe they are engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in. Every indication we have is they are prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine.”
On Monday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the Biden administration would seek “severe, swift, immediate economic retaliation” if Russia moved forward with their invasion plans.
Biden predicted a Russian invasion of Ukraine last week but qualified his comments by noting “Putin hadn’t made up his mind,” CNN noted.
Furthering speculation of an imminent invasion is Russia’s expulsion of Bart Gorman from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Gorman is the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Russia, the second-highest-ranking American official in Russia.
On Wednesday evening, the Biden administration asserted that 7,000 additional Russian forces troops arrived on Ukraine’s borders in recent days. Russia claims the buildup of forces and equipment is part of an annual drill in the region (though annual exercises usually take place in the summer).
According to the Daily Mail, Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, was skeptical of Russia’s plan to deescalate the situation, stating that his rule regarding Russian claims was “Do not hear and then believe. But do see and then believe.”
In a televised message to Russia and the world on Tuesday, President Biden said:
“The United States and NATO are not a threat to Russia. Ukraine is not a threat to Russia. Neither the U.S. nor NATO have missiles in Ukraine. We do not — do not — have plans to put them there, as well. We’re not targeting the people of Russia. We do not seek to destabilize Russia…
“To the citizens of Russia, you are not our enemy. And I do not believe you want a bloody destructive war against Ukraine, a country and the people with whom you share such deep ties of family history and culture…
“While I will not send American servicemen to fight in Ukraine, we have supplied the Ukrainian military equipment to help them defend themselves. We provided training and advice, and intelligence for the same purpose…
“Make no mistake, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power,” Biden declared. “An attack against one NATO country is an attack against all of us.”
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