President Biden issued a stark warning Thursday, saying the potential for a Russian attack on Ukraine is “very high” and could come in “in the next several days.”
“Every indication that we have is that they are preparing to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine,” Mr. Biden told reporters. “My sense is that it will happen within the next several days.”
He disputed the Kremlin’s claim that it is pulling back troops from Ukraine’s borders. The U.S. and its Western allies said Wednesday they see no evidence that Russia is withdrawing and, instead, has added more than 7,000 combatants in recent days.
“They have not moved any of their troops out,” Mr. Biden said, explaining why he believes an invasion is imminent. “They’ve moved more troops in, number one. Number two, we have reason to believe they are engaged in a false flag operation.”
Earlier Thursday, the Kremlin accused the U.S. and NATO of making “unfounded accusations” by saying Russia has not withdrawn troops.
The president’s remarks come as Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepares to address the U.N. Security Council Thursday morning on the Ukraine crisis.
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Mr. Biden said he still believes a diplomatic resolution to the crisis is possible.
“I laid out a path to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” he said. “But there is a path. There is a way through this.”
Mr. Biden said that he has “no plans” to call Mr. Putin.
On Thursday Ukrainian officials said soldiers were responding to artillery shelling in the eastern Ukraine, although further details on the incident are unclear. Photos published by Reuters showed buildings reportedly damaged by shelling in the town of Vrubivka, Ukraine.