Russia-Ukraine News Update: Biden believes Putin will continue the invasion

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden told ABC News White House CEO Cecilia Vega on Thursday morning that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will overcome the invasion of Ukraine within the next few days.

Asked as he left the White House if he felt that an invasion would happen, Biden said, “My feeling is this will happen in the next few days.”

The president accused Russia of engaging in a “false flag operation” and said that despite vows to pull back troops, the Kremlin actually moved more troops closer to the Ukrainian border.

“They didn’t move any of their troops out. They moved more troops in,” he said. “We have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false flag operation, to have an excuse to infiltrate. All of our indications are that they are preparing to enter Ukraine and attack Ukraine.”

Although he said he had yet to read Putin’s written response to the United States and that he had no plans for a phone call with the Russian leader, Biden reiterated that there was still an open diplomatic path.

What is happening

The United States continues to warn that Russia could invade Ukraine “any day” amid heightened tensions in the region, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken telling ABC News on Wednesday that the United States sees a “retreat.” “meaningless retreat” of Russian forces.

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that more than 150,000 Russian troops were estimated to be concentrated near the Ukrainian border, while US officials urged all Americans to leave Ukraine immediately.

While Putin and the Kremlin announced that Russia had begun withdrawing some troops from near the Ukraine border, ABC News learned that Putin had told his military forces to be ready for invasion on Wednesday. It remains unclear whether he decided to attack his former Soviet neighbor. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy marked the day as an impromptu national holiday, “a day of unity.”

Russia rejected the invasion plan and demanded that the US and NATO ban Ukraine from joining the military alliance.

Latest titles:

  • Biden says he believes Putin will weather the invasion
  • US Ambassador to UN: ‘Russia is moving towards an imminent invasion’
  • Lukashenko: Russian troops will stay in Belarus ‘as long as necessary’
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  • Russia-backed separatists claim ‘large-scale’ shelling in Ukraine

This is how the news is evolving. All Eastern Ages.

Russia confirms some troops are returning to base (February 17, 9:22 a.m.)

On Thursday, Russia confirmed again that some of the troops gathered near Ukraine were returning to bases, far from the border.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement that units from the Western and Southern Military Districts, stationed in western Russia and Crimea, are now moving back to their permanent bases. . He said Russian troops participating in the drills in Belarus will also return to base after the end of the exercise this weekend.

Konashenkov noted that the first units reached Nizhny Novgorod, Chechnya and Dagestan, hundreds of miles from the border with Ukraine.
– ABC News ‘Patrick Reevell

US receives Russian response to NATO security guarantees (February 17, 9:07 a.m.)

A senior State Department official said the United States had received a response from Russia regarding a discussion of Moscow’s request for security guarantees that NATO would not extend.

“We can confirm that we have received a response from the Russian Federation,” the official said. “It was delivered to Ambassador Sullivan in Moscow today.”

The US government, at Russia’s insistence, has sent written responses to two draft treaty agreements that Moscow published that require guarantees that Ukraine will never join NATO and that the military alliance withdraw its facilities. infrastructure from the Eastern European countries that joined after the Cold War. Washington declined those assurances as non-starters but offered to discuss some confidence-building measures.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow was planning to send an official response to Washington soon.

– ABC News ‘Conor Finnegan

US Ambassador to UN: ‘Russia is moving towards an imminent invasion’ (February 17, 8:30 a.m.)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Thursday warned that Russia appeared poised for an “imminent invasion” of neighboring Ukraine.

“The evidence is in fact that Russia is moving towards an imminent invasion,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters on a résumé call. “This is a pivotal moment.”

“Our goal was to convey the severity of the situation,” she added. “That’s why Secretary Blinken came to New York to signal our strong commitment to diplomacy, lay out and underline the path towards de-escalation, and make it clear to the world that we are do anything – everything – we can stop a war.”

Blinken took her flight to Munich but will fly to New York City first to speak at the United Nations Security Council session at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday.

– ABC News ‘Conor Finnegan

Lukashenko: Russian troops will stay in Belarus ‘as long as necessary’ (February 17, 7:34 a.m.)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday said Russian troops would stay in his country “as long as necessary”.

“As long as necessary, the Russian Armed Forces will be here. This is our land, our territory,” Lukashenko told Belarusian state media. “We’re working here, we’re working on it, and we’ll continue to study.”

According to Lukashenko, joint exercises of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces will be discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

The Belarusian leader said that any decision on the recognition of the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics in a breakaway region in southeastern Ukraine known as the Donbas would be taken together with Russia. He added that the decision would be mutually beneficial.

Lukashenko also noted that, in his view, if neighboring Ukraine wanted to end the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the Donbas, it could have done so.

– ABC News ‘Tanya Stukalova

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Dais Johnston

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