Joe Biden Vows Support for Ukraine as U.S. Pledges Troops to Eastern Europe

President Joe Biden has condemned the "unprovoked and unjustified attack" against Ukraine by Russian forces during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksyy, as his country faces invasion.

The White House released a brief readout of the call early on Thursday morning as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia had launched "a full-scale invasion of Ukraine."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the U.S. would "reinforce NATO" if Russia invaded Ukraine by "positioning forces to the east among our partners and allies to make sure that they're protected."

The White House statement on Thursday, attributed to the president, said that President Zelenskyy "reached out" to Biden.

"I condemned this unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces," Biden's statement said.

"I briefed him on the steps we are taking to rally international condemnation, including tonight at the United Nations Security Council," the president said.

"He asked me to call on the leaders of the world to speak out clearly against President Putin's flagrant aggression, and to stand with the people of Ukraine," Biden said.

Biden said he would meet with G7 leaders on Thursday and that the U.S. and its allies "will be imposing severe sanctions on Russia."

"We will continue to provide support and assistance to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people," Biden said.

Biden had issued an earlier statement before his call with Zelenskyy, condemning the invasion and saying: "The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight."

The president warned that Russia's actions "will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering."

"Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable," Biden said.

The attack on Ukraine came after Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC News' Lester Holt on Wednesday that he believed Russia would attack before the end of the night.

Holt asked Blinken: "What does Europe look like with Ukraine in Russian hands?"

The secretary of state said that the U.S. "will reinforce NATO, we will reassure all of our allies and partners, by positioning forces to the east among our partners and allies to make sure that they're protected."

"At the same time, we're doubling down on our assistance to Ukraine itself, making sure, as we've already done, that we're providing additional security assistance, diplomatic support, economic, humanitarian support," Blinken said. "That will continue, and in fact, the president says we're doubling down on that."

The U.S. had warned for weeks that Russian President Vladimir Putin was poised to invade Ukraine and promised severe sanctions against Russia if the country was attacked.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba was unequivocal in tweets early Thursday morning.

"Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine," Kuleba said. "Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now."

Newsweek has asked the Department of Defense for comment.

Update 02/24/22 03.56 a.m. ET: This article was updated to include more information.

Biden Speaks About Russia and Ukraine
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia and Ukraine in the East Room of the White House on February 15, 2022, in Washington, DC. Biden has spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as his country faces invasion. Alex Wong/Getty Images