US says Putin decided to invade Ukraine

US President Joe Biden said on Friday that according to information held by US intelligence services, Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to reject diplomatic negotiations and invade Ukraine next week. “We believe they will focus on the capital, Kiev, where 2.8 million innocent people live,” Biden added.

In response to a reporter’s question about Putin’s intentions, Biden said: “I am convinced that he made a decision, and we have reason to believe him.” But then he said that it was not too late to resolve the situation through diplomatic channels, which he asked Russia to follow, referring to the meeting between US Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinkin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on schedule. Thursday, February 24. “If Russia begins military operations before that day, it will be clear that it does not want to know about diplomacy.”

Biden did not explain how the US intelligence knew of Putin’s decision, but government sources from The New York Times They said that the president’s statements are based on new information that about half of Russia’s 150,000 troops are preparing for an offensive.

Russian authorities on Thursday They denied having a plan to invade Ukraine In a letter delivered to the US ambassador in Moscow, John Sullivan, he asked what had already been requested of Western countries in recent weeks: any official assurance that Ukraine would never join NATO, that the United States would withdraw troops from Eastern Europe and that there would be no missile facilities On the borders of Russia. The letter actually contained a threat because it said that if Russian demands were not met, Russia would be willing to respond with unspecified “technical-military measures”: a euphemism that had already been used for months. by Putin, implying that Russia is ready for a military attack.

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In the hours before Biden’s remarks, pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine ordered a mass evacuation of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, claiming that the Ukrainian army was about to attack them. In the clashes between Ukrainian security forces and separatist groups on Thursday, a grenade hit a kindergarten in Stanytsia Luhanska, Luhansk region, injuring three teachers.

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