US President Joe Biden said Thursday that there is a “very high” risk Russia will invade Ukraine in the coming days.
“We have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false flag operation as an excuse to go in,” the US leader said.
Biden’s comments come amid reports that Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow separatists exchanged fire in the east of the country.
At NATO headquarters in Brussels, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that Russia was flying in more combat and support aircraft.
Amid the heightened tensions, the United Nations Security Council convened Thursday for a meeting on Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who changed travel plans at the last minute to speak at the meeting, said that US intelligence shows Russian forces are preparing to attack Ukraine in the “coming days.”
Blinken said the potential invasion is a “moment of peril” for millions of people. He said Russia’s targets in Ukraine include the capital, Kyiv.
He also warned that Russia would attempt disinformation campaigns through state media to spread “false alarms” and carry out a “fake or real” attack to claim a pretext for invasion.
“Russia may describe this event as ethnic cleansing or a genocide,” he said.
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