U.S warns UN Security Council Russia could invade Ukraine in “coming days”
Feb 18, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid out at the UN Security Council on Thursday how Washington believes Russia could seek to invade Ukraine, warning that Moscow was preparing to attack its neighbor in the “coming days.”
Blinken, like other U.S officials over the past two weeks, has accused Russia of plotting to invade Ukraine with “a fake, even a real, attack using chemical weapons,” and said: “Russia may describe this event as ethnic cleansing or a genocide.”
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Varshin called Blinken’s statement “regrettable” and “dangerous”, adding to tensions. He said Russian forces were present on Russian soil and some units were already returning to their bases after the exercises. Blinken pressured Moscow to issue a statement declaring that it would not invade Ukraine “with no qualification, equivocation or deflection”
Russia has denied any plans to attack. However, the crisis has prompted the US-led NATO alliance to expand its presence in member states close to Russia or Ukraine. Ukraine is not a member of NATO and Russia does not want it to be allowed to join.
Blinken attended a 15-member UN Security Council meeting on Minsk agreements aimed at ending an eight-year conflict between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country. “I came here today not to start a war but to stop it,” he said.
Tensions between Moscow and the West have risen sharply in recent weeks over U.S allegations that Russia has deployed 150,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. Moscow accuses the West of hysteria. Blinken said US intelligence indicates that Russian forces are “preparing for an attack on Ukraine in the coming days” and has identified key targets, including the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
Blinken said he had asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to meet in Europe next week. The British Minister for Europe and North America, James Cleverly, told the Security Council: “Russia has deployed the necessary forces to invade Ukraine, and now it is ready to take action.”
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vershinin meanwhile said the meeting must not be turned in to a circus by presenting a “baseless accusation saying that Russia allegedly was going to attack Ukraine.”
“I think we’ve had enough speculation on that, we have a long ago clarified everything and explained everything,” he added.
Speaking about ethnic Russians living in eastern Ukraine, Vershinin told the council they “are still presented as foreigners in their own country” and targeted by the Ukrainian military. Earlier this week, Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces traded accusations of firing shells across the ceasefire line in eastern Ukraine, in what Kyiv said appeared to be a “provocation.”
Though the Ukraine crisis has been discussed many times at the security council, there isn’t likely to be any action with Russia having the veto power along with the U.S, Britain, France and China.
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