Thursday, July 4, 2024

Russia-Ukraine war imminent? US says THIS after shelling on latter’s front line

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US President Joe Biden ordered Secretary of State Antony Blinken to change his travel plans to speak at a United Nations Security Council on Ukraine.

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday there was now every indication Russia was planning to invade Ukraine, including signs Moscow was carrying out a false flag operation to justify it, after Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow rebels traded fire.

Moscow, for its part, ejected the number two official from the U.S. 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 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 told reporters as he departed the White House.

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.

“The evidence on the ground is that Russia is moving toward an imminent invasion. This is a crucial moment,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told reporters.

Russia denies planning to invade its neighbour and said this week it was pulling back some of the more than 100,000 troops it has massed near the frontier. Washington says Russia is not withdrawing, but in fact sending more forces.

“We see them fly in more combat and support aircraft. We see them sharpen their readiness in the Black Sea,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at NATO headquarters in Brussels. “We even see them stocking up their blood supplies.”

“I was a soldier myself not that long ago. I know firsthand that you don’t do these sorts of things for no reason,” said Austin, a retired Army general. “And you certainly don’t do them if you’re getting ready to pack up and go home.”

CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS

Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels gave conflicting accounts of shelling across the front in the Donbass separatist region. The details could not be established independently but reports from both sides suggested an incident more serious than the routine ceasefire violations reported regularly in the area.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was “seriously concerned” about the reports of an escalation. Russia has long accused Kyiv of planning to provoke escalation as an excuse to seize rebel territory by force, which Ukraine denies.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called unrest at the frontline “a blatant attempt by the Russian government to fabricate pretexts for invasion”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the pro-Russian forces had shelled a kindergarten, in what he called a “big provocation”. Video footage released by Ukrainian police showed a hole through a brick wall in a room scattered with debris and children’s toys.

The separatists, for their part, accused government forces of opening fire on their territory four times in the past 24 hours.

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