The Slatest

Blinken: Russia “Moving Forward” With Plan to Invade Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reacts after posing for a group picture during a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the G7 Nations at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, on February 19, 2022.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reacts after posing for a group picture during a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the G7 Nations at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, on February 19, 2022. INA FASSBENDER/Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that all signs point to Russia getting ready to invade Ukraine soon. “Everything we’re seeing tells us that the decision we believe President Putin has made to invade is moving forward,” Blinken said on CBS’ Face the Nation. “We’ve seen that with provocations created by the Russians or separatist forces over the weekend, false flag operations. Now the news just this morning that the quote unquote exercises Russia was engaged in in Belarus with 30,000 Russian forces that were supposed to end this weekend, will now continue because of tensions in eastern Ukraine. Tensions created by Russia and the separatist forces it backs there.”

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The United States is convinced that “everything leading up to the actual invasion appears to be taking place,” Blinken said on CNN’s State of the Union. But it isn’t time to impose sanctions yet, as Ukraine’s president has suggested. “We don’t want to pull the trigger until we have to because we lose the deterrent effect,” Blinken said on CBS. And diplomacy is still possible to avert a possible war as Biden was still willing to talk to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. “We believe President Putin has made the decision, but until the tanks are actually rolling, and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from carrying this forward,” Blinken said on CNN.

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Blinken was hardly the only one sounding the alarm Sunday, with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg saying that all signs point to Russia “preparing for an invasion of Ukraine.” Meanwhile, there are also reports that Russian commanders have received orders to proceed with an invasion, according to U.S. intelligence. The Russian forces are “doing everything that American commanders would do once they got the order to proceed,” CBS News national security correspondent David Martin said.

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