KIEV – The United States has issued some of the brightest, most detailed warnings about how Russian invasion of Ukraine could unfold, and its Western allies were ready for any attempt by the Kremlin to create a false ground for a new war in Europe.
US President Joe Biden sounded unusually appalling on Thursday when he warned that Washington had seen no signs of Russia’s promised withdrawal, but instead saw more troops moving toward the border with Ukraine, suggesting Moscow could invade in a matter of days. .
“We have all the signs that they are ready to go to Ukraine, to attack Ukraine,” Biden told reporters at the White House. He said the United States had “reason to believe” that Russia was “involved.” false flag operation to have a reason to come in, ”but he did not provide details.
The West’s fears focus on about 150,000 Russian troops – about 60% of Russia’s total ground forces – stationed near Ukraine’s borders. The Kremlin insists it has no plans to invade, but has long considered Ukraine part of its sphere of influence and NATO’s eastward expansion an existential threat. A key demand in this crisis is NATO’s promise never to allow Ukraine to join.
Biden planned to talk on the phone on Friday with transatlantic leaders about building up Russian military forces and long-term efforts to contain and diplomacy.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has revealed some findings of U.S. intelligence that are part of a strategy designed to expose and prevent any invasion planning. The United States has refused to disclose much of the evidence underlying its allegations.
Blinken told diplomats at the UN Security Council that a sudden, seemingly violent event organized by Russia to justify the invasion would launch an assault. Blinken referred to the “so-called terrorist explosion” in Russia, the staged drone strike, “forgery, even a real attack … using chemical weapons.”
He said the invasion would begin with cyber attacks, as well as missile strikes and bombs across Ukraine. Blinken described the entry of Russian troops, the attack on nearly 3 million Kyiv and other key targets.
By Thursday evening, American and European officials were ready for any attempt by Russia to create a basis for the invasion, according to a Western official familiar with the intelligence findings. Ukrainian government officials have shared intelligence with allies, suggesting that the Russians may have tried to shell Luhansk district in the disputed Donbass region on Friday morning in an attempt to create a false cause for hostilities, an official unauthorized said. comment publicly.
Prolonged confrontation with violence erupted in the area on Thursday, raising fears that it could be a spark for wider conflict. The region was already a place fighting since 2014, killing 14,000 people.
Separatist authorities in Luhansk Oblast report an increase in shelling of Ukrainian governments along a tense line of contact. Separatist official Radziwill Mirashnik said rebel forces opened fire in response.
Ukraine has denied the allegations, saying separatists fired on its forces, but they did not return fire. The Ukrainian military command said the shells hit a kindergarten in Stanitsa Luhanska, injuring two educators, and cut off electricity to half the city.
The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter that the shelling of the kindergarten by “pro-Russian forces is a great provocation.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov retorted: “We have repeatedly warned that excessive concentration of the Ukrainian armed forces in the immediate vicinity of the line of demarcation, combined with possible provocations, could pose a terrible danger.”
Western powers have tried to prevent or prepare for a final invasion.
NATO Defense Ministers discussed ways to strengthen defense in Eastern Europewhile EU leaders huddled over how to punish Russia if it invades. Blinken and Vice President Kamala Harris are among the political, military and diplomatic leaders heading to the annual security conference in Munich, where urgent consultations will be held on the crisis.
China, a key ally of Russia, has accused Washington of “playing up and sensing the crisis and escalating tensions.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the United States should “take Russia’s legitimate and legitimate security concerns seriously.”
At NATO headquarters in Brussels, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin questioned statements about the withdrawal of Russian troops.
“We have seen some of these troops approaching this border. We see them flying on more combat and support aircraft, ”he said. “We see them increasing their readiness in the Black Sea. We even see how they store blood. You don’t do this kind of thing for no reason, and you certainly don’t do it when you’re getting ready to pack up and go home. ”
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that in the West in the last 48 hours “the number of troops has increased to 7,000 people.” It’s squared with what a U.S. administration official said the day before.
Russia says the conclusion announced earlier this week will take time. Russia also issued a new diplomatic overture on Thursday, conveying to the United States a response to proposals to participate in talks to limit missile deployment in Europe, limit military exercises and other confidence-building measures.
The response, issued by the Foreign Ministry, expressed regret over the West’s refusal to comply with basic Russian security requirements and confirmed that Moscow could take vague “military-technical measures” if the United States and its allies continue to silence its concerns.
At the same time, it said that Russia was ready to discuss restrictions on the deployment of missiles, restrictions on patrol flights of strategic bombers and other steps.
Isachenkov reported from Moscow, Superville from Washington and Cook from Brussels. Matthew Lee in Munich, Angela Charlton in Paris, Jill Lawless in London, Edith M. Lederer at the UN, Frank Jordans in Berlin and Oamer Madhani, Ellen Nickmeyer, Colin Long and Zick Miller in Washington contributed to this case.
The AP covers the Ukrainian crisis in more detail: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
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