Russian President Vladimir Putin is making preparations to invade Ukraine. But it’s not certain if he made that decision, according to a senior official from the administration. 

Before President Joe Biden called Putin on Tuesday, the official gave a briefing to reporters about the current situation in Ukraine.

Taking a tough tone ahead of the conversation between the two leaders, the official noted that the U.S. and Eureopeans are prepared to place ‘substantial economic’ sanctions on Russia should Putin invade the Ukraine. 

While the official wouldn’t commit to the United States putting boots on the ground to help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the person did say that in the event of an invasion, the US would offer reassurance to NATO allies with additional forces. 

“To make it clear, we don’t know if Putin has taken a decision to escalate military tensions in Ukraine. However, we know that he has put in place the capability to escalate if necessary. The senior official from the administration said that we’ve already seen similar Russian tactics in Ukraine’s 2014 invasion.

“We’ve seen additional forces and capabilities moving to Ukraine from multiple areas. The official said that these movements were consistent with military escalation plans in Ukraine. 

An official said that Russia still has the option of choosing a “different course” and that the Biden administration was encouraging Moscow to “return on dialogue via diplomatic avenues.”  

Biden’s and Putins will likely be discussing the situation in Urkaine. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made preparations to invade Ukraine but it's unclear he's made the final decision to do so, a senior administration official said

Russian President Vladimir Putin made preparations for the invasion of Ukraine. However, it’s not known if he made that decision. A top administration official stated this.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, awards a soldier in a trench as he visits the war-hit Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine on Monday

Right, Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Ukrainian President) awards a soldier who has been in a trench during his visit to the Donetsk, war-torn region of eastern Ukraine, Monday

This handout satellite image released by Maxar Technologies and taken on November 1, 2021 shows the presence of a large ground forces deployment on the northern edge of the town of Yelnya, Smolensk Oblast, Russia

Maxar Technologies released this handout satellite image on November 1st 2021. It shows the presence a large ground force deployment at the northern end of Yelnya (Smolensk Oblast), Russia.

U.S. intelligence personnel have discovered that Russia has approximately 70,000 troops at its border to Ukraine. These numbers are now being compared with Moscow’s 2014 annexation.

Ahead of Biden and Putin’s conversation, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will speak with Zelensky and Biden will call the Ukranian president in the days following his conversation with Putin, the official said. 

According to the official, the U.S. would also support its NATO allies within the region. Zelensky tried to make Ukraine a full member of NATO, but it has yet to happen.

An official suggested that the U.S. might deploy to Eastern Europe in case Russia invades. He said there would be a positive reaction from the United States to have additional capabilities, forces, and exercises put in place in order to protect our allies on our east flank in the event of such aggression in Ukraine.

Biden will talk to European allies ahead of meeting Putin on Monday. Preparations are underway for Russia to impose severe economic sanctions if its troops invade Ukraine.

“We’ve had intense discussions with European partners over what we would collectively do in the case of an escalation by Russia in Ukraine’s military power. We believe we can find a way forward, which would include substantial economic countermeasures by the Europeans as well as the United States, that would inflict severe and significant economic damage on Russia’s economy, if they decide to move ahead, the official said.

Although the person was hesitant to give more details, he stated that they were sending a message.This sends a strong message to Russia about the real and lasting consequences of their decision to move forward with military escalation.

The official stated that he believed it was possible to anticipate the fact that, in the case of invasion, there would be a need to increase the confidence and reassurance among NATO allies as well as our Eastern flank allies. This would make the United States prepared to offer that type of reassurance. 

President Joe Biden to speak with European allies Monday ahead of call with Putin

President Joe Biden to speak with European allies Monday ahead of call with Putin

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will speak with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday ahead of Biden and Putin call

Anthony Blinken, Secretary of State will meet with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zilensky Monday before the Putin and Biden calls

A view of Humvees (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles) given to the Ukrainian Armed Forces to mark the 30th anniversary of its formation

An image of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ Humvees (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles) presented to them to commemorate the 30th anniversary their founding.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits combat positions and meets with servicemen at the frontline with Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk region

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian president, visits combat posts and meets servicemen on the frontline against Russia-backed separatists from the Donetsk area

On Monday, however, the Kremlin described U.S.-Russian relations as “very lamentable” on the eve the video conference between the leaders.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for the Kremlin said Russia was countering NATO’s growing expansion toward its borders. Putin is expected to ask Biden questions about the long-term security measures that Moscow seeks from the West. 

Putin may raise the possibility for another U.S. Russia Summit. Biden and Putin last met in June, Geneva.

Peskov explained that the participants would have to meet to determine how Geneva agreements were being applied, as well as to look at what has been fully implemented and what still needs to be done.

“Of course, it is bilateral relations. They remain in a very sad state. It’s then that the issues are the most important on the agenda. He noted that tensions around Ukraine and the topic of NATO advances towards our borders as well as President Putin’s initiative regarding security guarantees were key issues.