Biden believes Putin has already decided to invade Ukraine, says diplomacy still on table

Biden believes Putin has already decided to invade Ukraine, says diplomacy still on table

Ukrinform
U.S. President Joseph Biden in an update on Ukraine, delivered on February 18, expressed a conviction that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had already made a decision to proceed with military incursion into Ukraine. At the same time, Biden notes it is not too late to return to the negotiating table.

“As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision,” the U.S. president said, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.  “We have reason to believe that.”

“All these are consistent with the playbook the Russians have used before: to set up a false justification to act against Ukraine.  This is also in line with the pretext scenarios that the United States and our Allies and partners have been warning about for weeks,” said Biden.

Read also: Biden calls on Russians not to seee U.S., NATO, Ukraine as threat

The U.S. president spoke of severe sanctions that would be imposed should Russia further invade Ukraine, at the same time adding that it is “not too late to de-escalate and return to the negotiating table.”

“[T]he bottom line is this: The United States and our Allies and partners will support the Ukrainian people.  We will hold Russia accountable for its actions.  The West is united and resolved.  We’re ready to impose severe sanctions on Russia if it further invades Ukraine,” Biden said.

“But I say again: Russia can still choose diplomacy,” the U.S. leader added.

Biden also said Russia had agreed that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov should meet on February 24 in Europe.

“But if Russia takes military action before that date, it will be clear that they have slammed the door shut on diplomacy,” Joe Biden underlined.

“They will have chosen war, and they will pay a steep price for doing so — not only from the sanctions that we and our allies will impose on Russia, but the moral outrage that the rest of the world will visit upon them,” said the U.S. president.

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