South Lawn

9:17 A.M. EDT   
 
Q    Mr. President, how high is the threat of a Russian invasion right now? 
 
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s very high.
 
Q    Why?
 
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s very — because they have not — they have not moved any of their troops out.  They’ve moved more troops in, number one.  Number two, we have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false-flag operation to have an excuse to go in.  Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine — number one. 
 
Number two, I’ve been waiting for a response from Putin for my letter that — my response to him.  It’s come to that Moscow embassy.  They’re faxing it here.  Not faxing it, they’re sending it here.  I have not read it yet.  I cannot comment on it.
 
Q    Have you been briefed on it in any way?
 
THE PRESIDENT:  No- —
 
Q    Do you think he’s going to go through with this, sir?  Is your sense that this is going to happen now?
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  Not —
 
Q    When?
 
THE PRESIDENT:  I — my sense is this will happen within the next several days. 
 
Thank you.
 
Q    How many days are we talking?
 
Q    Is there any diplomatic path still available, Mr. President? 
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Yes, there is.  There’s a clear diplomatic path.  That’s why I asked Senator — Senator — (laughs) — Secretary Blinken to go to the United Nations and make his statement today.  He’ll lay out what that path is.  I’ve laid out a path to Putin as well on, I think, Sunday.  And so, there is a path.  There is a way through this, but by diplomacy.
 
Q    Will you speak to Putin again? 
 
Q    Are you going to call Putin?
 
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not calling Putin.  I have no plans to call Putin right now.  Thank you.
 
9:18 A.M. EST

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