Biden says Putin has decided to invade Ukraine

Biden says Putin has decided to invade Ukraine


President Joe Biden said on Friday (Feb 18) that Russia President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine, and that he continues to spread false information to try to build a pretext for a military strike that could happen in days.

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"As of this moment I am convinced that he has made the decision (to invade)," Biden told reporters in Washington. "We have reason to believe that," he added, citing US intelligence assessments.

His comments came after a phone call with the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Britain, the European Union and NATO, the White House said.

The leaders pledged to continue pursuing diplomacy while preparing to impose swift, coordinated economic costs on Russia should it choose further conflict, according to a White House readout of the call.

They also discussed efforts to ensure the defense and security of NATO’s eastern flank, the White House said.

Biden's administration has said a diplomatic solution remains possible if Russia chooses, but that Washington and its European allies are prepared to enact harsh punishments if Moscow opts to invade.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov planned to meet Feb. 24 in Europe, Biden said, but he warned any Russian military action before that would show Russia has "slammed the door shut on diplomacy."