US at UN lays out alleged Russian plans to invade Ukraine

By Mario Villar

United Nations, Feb 17 (EFE).- The United States on Thursday at the United Nations in New York City detailed Russia’s alleged plans to justify and launch an imminent invasion of Ukraine, which would include the taking of Kyiv, accusations that Moscow claims are unfounded and dangerous.

In a last-minute move to emphasize the seriousness of the crisis, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to New York to speak before the UN Security Council, which already had been scheduled to hold a meeting on the Ukraine situation on Thursday.

Blinken said that in recent months, without provocation or justification, Moscow has amassed more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine’s land and sea borders in Russia, Belarus and the occupied Crimean Peninsula, the latter being Ukrainian territory that was annexed by Russia in 2014.

“Russia says it’s drawing down those forces. We do not see that happening on the ground,” the secretary of state said, referring to a claim made by the Kremlin on Wednesday.

Blinken went on to say that the information available to the US clearly indicates that the Russian forces, which include land, sea and air units, are preparing to launch an attack on Ukraine “in the coming days.”

The US official described how the Joe Biden administration believes that Russia is going to proceed, starting with creating a “pretext” to justify its attack, which could take the form of a “fabricated so-called terrorist bombing inside Russia, the invented discovery of a mass grave, a staged drone strike against civilians, or even a real attack using chemical weapons.”

“Russia may describe this event as ethnic cleansing or a genocide, making a mockery of a concept that we in this chamber do not take lightly,” Blinken said, warning that Russian media outlets have already begun disseminating some of these “false alarms.”

The next step, the US said, would be top-level government meetings in Moscow to respond to the alleged aggression and an order to begin bombardment of Ukraine accompanied by a blockade on communications and cyberattacks against “key Ukrainian institutions.”

“After that, Russian tanks and soldiers will advance on to targets that have already been identified and mapped out in detailed plans,” including Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million, Blinken said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, who before Blinken spoke had asked that the Security Council session not be allowed to become “a circus” with a “baseless accusation saying that Russia allegedly was going to attack Ukraine.”

“I think we’ve had enough speculation on that,” Vershinin said. “We have a long ago clarified everything and explained everything.”

The Russian official said after Blinken’s remarks that they were very unfortunate and even “dangerous,” accusing the US of raising tensions in an already very complex situation.

Russia in recent hours has distributed documents to the other Security Council members denouncing alleged serious violations committed by Ukrainian forces, a move that US sources said could be used as a possible justification for an invasion.

Meanwhile, Vershinin insisted that his country has no intention to invade Ukraine, although he devoted the main portion of his remarks to denouncing what he said was Kyiv’s failure to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk Accords.

Those pacts – adopted starting in 2014 between Russia and Ukraine to try and restore peace in the latter’s eastern breakaway provinces and which included, among other things, a ceasefire – have been repeatedly violated by the two parties, international observers say.

The Security Council meeting to discuss the Minsk Accords came just a few hours after a resurgence in clashes along the line of contact separating Ukrainian government troops from the pro-Russian separatist militia units being backed by Moscow.

Between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, some 500 explosions were noted in the zone, although calm has returned in recent hours, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s observer mission told the UN Security Council.

At the Thursday debate in the UN, the speakers in their remarks once again made clear the differences that exist among the key members of the Security Council, with the United Kingdom fully aligned with the US and China pointing to the expansion of NATO and Washington’s attitude as the origin of the problem.

Meanwhile, the countries of the European Union, led by France and Germany, denounced the calls in Russia to recognize the independence of the separatist Ukrainian provinces and emphasized their full support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Related Articles

Back to top button