“We have reason to believe the Russian forces are planning to attack Ukraine in the coming week — the coming days. We believe that they will target Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv,” Biden said Friday from the White House’s Roosevelt Room.
Additional administration officials have reiterated Biden’s sentiment about the likelihood of an invasion and their messages have gotten more dire in recent days.
The U.S. mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe estimated in a new statement on Friday that Russia’s troop buildup is somewhere “between 169,000 and 190,000,” when counting the troops along the border in Russia and Belarus, occupied Crimea, and forces in eastern Ukraine.
Putin has repeatedly said their demand is for NATO not to expand eastward, including into Ukraine, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that’s a goal for his country. Zelensky recently accused trans-Atlantic leaders of adopting an “appeasement” policy towards Russia that had allowed the crisis on Ukraine’s borders to escalate, a hint at a troubling period from Europe’s past.