President Joe Biden on Friday reiterated that a Russian invasion of Ukraine looks likely to occur in a matter of days, but said diplomacy is still possible.
“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week — in the coming days. We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people,” Biden said, as he gave a brief speech at the White House.
The president said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a decision to invade Ukraine, but “until he does, diplomacy is always a possibility.” Biden cited “significant intelligence capability” when asked why he thought Putin had made his choice.
The White House press office earlier Friday had said the president would give an update on his administration’s “continued efforts to pursue deterrence and diplomacy, and Russia’s buildup of military troops on the border of Ukraine,” with his remarks coming after a call with Transatlantic leaders on the situation.
The Biden administration on Friday blamed Russia’s government for widescale cyberattacks on Ukrainian banks earlier this week, while Russia announced massive drills of its nuclear forces Friday amid soaring East-West tensions. On Thursday, Biden told reporters the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “very high,” and it could occur within the next several days.
The main U.S. stock gauges
closed lower Friday, adding to the prior session’s sharp drop, as investors monitored developments between Russia
and Ukraine and harbored fears of a war breaking out. U.S. oil futures
posted losses for the session and week, as prospects for restoring the Iran nuclear deal outweighed fears of supply disruptions should Russia invade Ukraine.