Biden says there is ‘reason to believe’ Putin will invade Ukraine

At an address at the White House, President Joe Biden said he believed that Vladimir Putin will invade the Ukraine, but that diplomacy is not yet off the table.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The big takeaway from President Joe Biden’s Friday speech to the nation to address the escalating crisis in Ukraine? He is convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a decision about invading the eastern European country.

“As of this moment, I’m confident he has made the decision,” Biden said. “We have reason to believe that.”

Biden addressed the nation Friday amid fears that Russia could invade Ukraine within days. His remarks came on the heels of a call with transatlantic leaders.

As the commander-in-chief warned about the increasing prospect of war in eastern Europe, Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Munich, Germany, to meet with leaders of the Baltic states.

It is there that the vice-president and secretary of state reassured NATO allies who continue to pursue deterrence and diplomacy with Russia.

“Differences have to be resolved through dialogue, through diplomacy,” said Antony Bliken, the United States Secretary of State.

The White House also announced it will sell $6 of new military aid including 250 tanks to Poland. That’s where defense secretary Lloyd Austin spent the afternoon meeting with United States troops and held a call with his Russian counterpart.

“There is still time and space for diplomacy,” Austin said.

But Putin announced that he will oversee a massive round of military defense drills Saturday as he insists the country is drawing down their forces.

The Ukrainian ministry of defense says Russian-separatists conducted shelling against areas of eastern Ukraine as the U.S. accuses Russia of seeking to create a pretext for military action.

(See Friday’s press conference below.)

On Friday, too, the White House accused Russia of being responsible for recent cyberattacks targeting Ukraine’s defense ministry and major banks.

The announcement was made by Anne Neuberger, the White House’s chief cyber official, and it was the most pointed attribution of responsibility for cyberattacks that have unfolded as tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine.

“Russia likes to move in the shadows and counts on a long process of attribution so it can continue its malicious behavior against Ukraine,” Neuberger said.

She said the attacks this week were of “limited impact” since Ukrainian officials were able to quickly get their networks back online, but it is possible that they were laying the groundwork for more destructive intrusions.

The bottom line is that Biden on Friday said it is not too late to pursue diplomacy but it appears that Russia is doing the exact opposite with now upwards of 190,000 Russian soldiers at Ukraine’s border.

On Friday, First Lady Jill Biden visited the Sunshine State including a stop in Opa-Locka to visit the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Miami.

About the Authors:

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News. He has more than a decade of reporting experience nationwide.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local