US President Joe Biden has warned there is every indication Russia is planning to invade Ukraine, including signs Moscow is carrying out a false flag operation to justify it, after Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow rebels traded fire.
Moscow, for its part, on Thursday ejected the number two official from the US embassy and released a strongly worded letter accusing Washington of ignoring its security demands. It threatened unspecified “military-technical measures”.
Early morning exchanges of fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine raised alarm, with Western officials who have long warned that Moscow could try to create a pretext for an invasion saying they believed such a scenario was now unfolding.
“We have reason to believe they are engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in. Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine and attack Ukraine,” Biden said at the White House. “My sense is it will happen in the next several days.”
Biden ordered Secretary of State Antony Blinken to change his travel plans at the last minute to speak at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine.
Addressing the council, Blinken sketched out in graphic detail how Washington contends any Russian attack would begin and unfold.
“Missiles and bombs drop across Ukraine, communications will be jammed, cyberattacks will shut down Ukrainian institutions,” Blinken told the UNSC.
“After that, Russian tanks and soldiers will advance on key targets that have already been identified and mapped out in detailed plans.”