President Biden warned on Thursday that a new Russian invasion of Ukraine is on the horizon, with signs pointing to Moscow using a fake pretext to send in troops amid reports of shelling in a disputed territory.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a brief presentation at the United Nations, outlining the likely drastic moves that the Kremlin will make, according to American sources.
Blinken and his Russian counterpart are scheduled to meet next week as the US pushes for a diplomatic solution.
Reports indicate shelling has resumed in Eastern Ukraine as the region braces for conflict. pic.twitter.com/sRUoPaFqHt— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) February 17, 2022
The US officials’ warnings were the most serious yet in a standoff that has grown since Russian President Vladimir Putin mobilized troops around Ukraine’s borders last November.
Russian reports earlier this week suggested Putin was removing some troops, but US officials said Wednesday and Thursday that Moscow had increased its army posture along the Ukrainian border to roughly 150,000 troops, with 7,000 new soldiers arriving in recent days.
When questioned about a probable incursion, Biden said on Thursday that he believes it will happen within the next few days. Other US officials believe a Russian strike might happen even sooner.
Russia’s own comments revealed that Putin was dissatisfied with the course of diplomatic efforts to address the matter, even as Moscow accused Ukraine and the West of provocative measures and neglected its security concerns.
The situation was so tense that American national security leaders convened many times during the night. On his way to the Munich Conference today, US Envoy to the United Nations Heather Thomas-Greenfield requested that Blinken attend a United Nations Security Council session.
As part of the Biden administration’s ongoing effort to combat Russia’s propaganda and disinformation in real time, Blinken went through the processes of projecting how Moscow would handle the situation.
First, Russia would fabricate a pretext, such as a violent incident or a ridiculous claim.
Second, in response to this orchestrated provocation, Russian government officials at the highest levels may convene emergency meetings to resolve the bogus issue. They will release proclamations arguing that Moscow must act in Ukraine to protect ethnic Russians.