U.S. warns of ‘imminent’ Russian invasion as Blinken heads to the UN

T-72B3 Main Battle Tanks of Russian Army take part in a military drill in St. Petersburg, Russia on February 14, 2022.

Russian Defense Ministry | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken will address the United Nations Security Council Thursday morning as the crisis on Ukraine’s borders reaches a pivotal moment.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters on a call Thursday morning that she requested Blinken to address the international forum ahead of his scheduled trip alongside Vice President Kamala Harris to the Munich Security Conference.

“Our goal is to convey the gravity of the situation. The evidence on the ground is that Russia is moving toward an imminent invasion. This is a crucial moment,” Thomas-Greenfield said on the call.

“That’s why Secretary Blinken is coming to New York to signal our intense commitment to diplomacy to offer and emphasize the path toward de-escalation. And to make it clear to the world that we are doing everything, everything we can to prevent a war, “she added.

Blinken is slated to speak at 10:00 am ET from the United Nations headquarters.

The diplomatic developments unfolded as Ukraine accused pro-Russia separatists of attacking a village near the border.

Blinekn’s trip to the UN comes as Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin wraps up a two-day meeting with NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

For months, the US and its Western allies have watched a steady buildup of Kremlin forces along Ukraine’s border with Russia and Belarus. The increased military presence mimics Russia’s playbook ahead of its 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea, a peninsula on the Black Sea, which sparked international uproar and triggered sanctions against Moscow.

The Kremlin has denied that the extraordinary deployment of Russian troops outfitted with advanced military equipment along Ukraine’s borders is preparing for an invasion.

Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said the United States was prepared to defend NATO members as the crisis on Ukraine’s border with Russia intensifies.

“Make no mistake, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory with the full force of American power. An attack against one NATO country is an attack against all of us,” Biden said, evoking the alliance’s collective defense rule known as Article 5.

“If Russia proceeds, we will rally the world,” Biden said Tuesday afternoon, adding that Washington’s allies were ready to impose powerful sanctions that will “undermine Russia’s ability to compete economically and strategically.”

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