US warns at UN that Russia plans to invade Ukraine in ‘coming days’

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken talks about Ukraine during his visit to Nadi, Fiji, February 12, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarck/Paul/File Photo

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UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken explained at the UN Security Council on Thursday how Washington believes Russia could seek to invade Ukraine, warning that Moscow was preparing to take such military action in the “coming days”. . “

Blinken accused Russia of plotting to manufacture a pretext for an attack on Ukraine that could include an “imaginary, even real, attack using chemical weapons,” and said, “Russia might describe this event as ethnic cleansing or genocide.”

“The Russian government can declare today, without any reservation, evasion, or deviation, that Russia will not invade Ukraine. Make it clear. And announce it clearly to the world, and then show it by sending your troops, tanks, and planes to their barracks and hangars, and sending diplomats to negotiating table.

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Blinkin appeared at a meeting of the 15-member council on the Minsk Accords, which are aimed at ending the 8-year conflict between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country.

The meeting came amid high tensions after the United States accused Russia of deploying about 150,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks. Russia has said it has no plans to invade Ukraine and accuses the West of hysteria.

Blinken said that US information indicated that Russian forces “are preparing to launch an attack on Ukraine in the coming days.” He said he had asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to meet in Europe next week.

Speaking to Blinkin, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin appealed to council members not to turn the meeting “into a circus” by making a “baseless accusation that Russia intends to attack Ukraine”.

“I think we have enough speculation about that,” Vershinin said. “We explained everything a long time ago and explained everything.”

A senior US administration official had warned earlier on Thursday that Russia could use the Security Council meeting as part of an attempt to “establish a pretext for a possible invasion” after Russia distributed a document to council members alleging war crimes in Iraq. Southeast Ukraine.

The US official dismissed the Russian allegations as “categorically false.”

Referring to Russians living in eastern Ukraine, Vershinin said they are “still presented as foreigners in their country” and targeted by the Ukrainian military. He told council members that they would be “horrified” by the document that Russia showed them.

Earlier on Thursday, Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces accused each other of firing shells across the ceasefire line in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, in what Kiev apparently described as a “provocation”. Read more

Yasar Khalit Cevik, chief observer of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, told the Security Council that although about 500 explosions were recorded overnight, “the tension appears to have subsided.”

The United Nations Security Council has met dozens of times to discuss the Ukraine crisis since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014. It cannot take any action because Russia has veto power along with France, Britain, China and the United States. Read more

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(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Humira Pamuk, Daphne Psalidakis, Doina Chiako; Editing by Will Dunham, Raisa Kasulowsky and Chizu Nomiyama

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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