The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Biden says U.S. believes Putin has decided to invade Ukraine

President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Friday, Feb. 18. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

President Biden said Friday that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine in a matter of days, targeting the capital city of Kyiv.

“As of this moment I’m convinced he’s made the decision. We have reason to believe that,” Biden told reporters at the White House after a call with European leaders about the crisis. The president cited intelligence gathering for his assessment of Putin, while adding that war could be averted with further diplomacy.

View live politics updates

The remarks amounted to some of the most specific and definitive comments Biden has used to describe his interpretation of Russia’s intentions.

“We’re calling out Russia’s plans loudly, repeatedly, not because we want a conflict, but because we’re doing everything in our power to remove any reason that Russia may give to justify invading Ukraine and prevent them from moving,” Biden said.

Here’s what to know

  • The Biden administration is “deeply concerned” that Putin has turned away from a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the Munich Security Conference.
  • The Biden administration said that the United States has reason to believe that Russian cyber actors targeted the Ukrainian government and banks during the past week with an attack of “limited impact.”
  • Blinken agreed to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov next week under the condition that Moscow refrains from attacking Ukraine.
  • Vice President Harris, in Munich for a major security conference, met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and representatives of NATO’s three Baltic states and will confer with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, on Saturday.