(Update 5:30pm ET): Shortly after images of the gas pipeline explosion was reaching social media, President Biden appeared behind the lectern at The White House (an hour late) to tell the world that he’s “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to launch a further invasion in Ukraine, including an assault on its capital, Kyiv.
After weeks of saying the U.S. wasn’t sure if Putin had made the final decision to launch a widespread invasion, Biden said that assessment had changed, citing “significant intelligence capability.”
“As of this moment I’m convinced he’s made the decision,” Biden said.
“We have reason to believe that.” He reiterated that it could occur in the “coming days.”
“We believe they will target Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million innocent people,” he said of Russian forces.
But with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken scheduled to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, Biden said there is still time for negotiations to defuse the crisis.
“Diplomacy is always a possibility,” he said.
Meanwhile, US officials are also convinced that Russia was responsible for the DDOS attacks in Ukraine this week