Russia is ready to resort to an invasion of Ukraine in the next few days. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated this during a meeting of the UN Security Council, convened by the Russian side. He stressed that intelligence did not see the withdrawal of troops promised by the Russian Federation and outlined a likely step-by-step plan for a new attack on Ukrainian territory.
"Russia says it’s drawing down its forces. We do not see that happening on the ground. Our information indicates clearly that these forces–including ground troops, aircraft, ships–are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days." the official stated.
According to Blinken, the invasion will be preceded by a bogus pretext. Among the possible "staged" scenarios that Moscow can use are a terrorist attack in Russia, a Ukrainian drone strike on civilians, and provocations using chemical weapons. The goal is to create a "so-called crisis in order to later declare the need to protect Russian citizens."
The next step will be the invasion itself.
"Russian missiles and bombs will drop across Ukraine. Communication will be jammed, cyber attacks will disable key Ukrainian institutions. After that, Russian tanks and soldiers will advance on key targets that have already been identified and mapped out in detailed plans," Blinken stated.
The Secretary of State stressed that one of the goals of the Russian Federation would be Kyiv.
"Today, we are laying it out in great detail because we hope that by sharing what we know with the world, we can influence Russia to abandon the path of war and choose a different path while there’s still time," the official stressed.
Blinken stated that the Russian side should directly and clearly declare to the whole world that Russia will not attack Ukraine and confirm this with real steps. The U.S. Secretary of State approached Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a proposal to hold a meeting in Europe next week, of course, if there is no invasion by that time.
Context. U.S. President Joe Biden also stated on February 17 that the risk of an invasion remains very high. According to his forecast, the attack could happen "in the next few days." He added that Russia could resort to a "false flag" operation.
Currently, large-scale joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises Allied Resolve—2022 are in progress in Belarus. They should end on February 20th. The Beijing Winter Olympics will also end on that day. A number of US officials have previously suggested that the Kremlin will not dare to launch another attack as long as the Olympic Games continue. On the other hand, Blinken predicted that the invasion could begin even before they end.