State plainly Russia will not invade Ukraine, US challenges Putin

WION Web Team
Washington Updated: Feb 18, 2022, 07:38 AM(IST)

A view shows Russian BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles during drills held by the armed forces of the Southern Military District at the Kadamovsky range in the Rostov region, Russia January 27, 2022. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

President Biden said Russia was planning a 'false flag' operation in order to invade Ukraine as a pretext to launch an attack. 

US secretary of state Anthony Blinken told the United Nations on Friday that Russia is seeking to unleash a major invasion in the "coming days".

The US diplomat citing intelligence inputs asked Russia to "announce today with no qualification, equivocation or deflection that Russia will not invade Ukraine. State it clearly. State it plainly to the world."

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President Biden said Russia was planning a "false flag operation" in order to invade Ukraine as a pretext to launch an attack. 

"They have not moved any of their troops out. They've moved more troops in," the US president said, adding, "Every indication we have is that they're prepared to go into Ukraine." Biden reiterated that path to diplomacy "is a way through this".

Blinken said Russia should demonstrate its intentions "by sending your troops, your tanks, your planes, back to their barrack" and allow its diplomats to negotiate.

Watch: Is Russia conducting a proxy war in Ukraine?

Russia has repeatedly scoffed at reports that its forces are ready to invade Ukraine even as the US has said heavy artillery, tanks and thousands of troops are stationed at the border with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, shelling was reported as exchanges of fire took place between Ukraine's forces and pro-Russian separatists

Russia had submitted a security document to the United States and NATO stating that ex-Soviet states should not be inducted into the European military alliance referring to Ukraine, however, both NATO and the US have rejected Russia's direction.

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"In the absence of will on the American side to negotiate firm and legally binding guarantees on our security from the United States and its allies, Russia will be forced to respond, including with military-technical measures," the Russian foreign ministry said.

Russia had announced earlier this week that its forces were returning to their permanent bases after drills in Belarus including those who had taken part in the Crimea military exercise. However, the US said it needs proof of Russian withdrawal.

US officials say there are at least 150,000 Russian troops massed along the southern, eastern and northern borders of Ukraine.

(With inputs from Agencies)


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