US officials continue to warn that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine despite Moscow’s repeated denials and Ukraine’s downplaying of the threat. At a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken again accused Russia of plotting a false flag as a pretext for an invasion.
Blinken claimed that the US has evidence that Russian forces “are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days.” He accused Russia of creating a pretext for the attack that could include a fake “terrorist bombing” or “a fake, even a real, attack using chemical weapons.” Blinken named targets Russia would then attack in Ukraine, including the capital Kyiv.
As usual, Blinken did not offer any evidence to back up the claims, and Russia strongly rejected the accusations. At the Security Council meeting, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin called the false flag claims a “baseless accusation.”
Vershinin also blamed the violence in eastern Ukraine on Kyiv’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements. “Ukrainian representatives keep coming up with new excuses not to implement their agreements,” he said. “Attempts to place the blame on Russia are futile and baseless.”
Despite the frequent public clashes, the US and Russia have maintained a dialogue amid the heightened Ukraine tensions. Blinken said that he asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to hold talks with him in Europe next week, and the State Department said later that the two diplomats agreed to meet.
Over in Washington, President Biden also accused Russia of plotting an invasion. “Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine,” he said. He also suggested Russia is “engaged in a false flag operation” to create a pretext without offering evidence.