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Iran Press TV

US says Russia could invade Ukraine 'at any point'

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 18 January 2022 10:52 PM

The White House says it believes that Russia could invade its neighboring country "at any point," despite Moscow's repeated denials

"Our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation. We're now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Tuesday, adding later that her language was "more stark than we have been."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the meeting was scheduled after Blinken and Lavrov spoke by phone on Tuesday.

He elaborated that the engagement in Geneva was added to the end of the secretary's previously scheduled travel to Kyiv on Wednesday and Berlin on Thursday.

The meeting follows high-level diplomatic talks between American and Russian officials and NATO in Europe last week.

Psaki said Blinken plans to call on the Russians to deescalate the situation and take the diplomatic path on Ukraine but then went on to threaten Moscow with significant economic consequences should it choose to invade its neighbor.

"It is up to the Russians to determine which path they are going to take, and the consequences are going to be severe if they don't take the diplomatic path," Psaki said.

In a statement following a call between Bliknen and Lavrov on Tuesday, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Blinken stressed the "unshakable US commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Blinken also "stressed the importance of continuing a diplomatic path to de-escalate tensions surrounding the deeply troubling Russian military buildup in and near Ukraine," Price said.

He added that Blinken told Lavrov that "any discussion of European security must include NATO Allies and European partners, including Ukraine."

The development comes as US intelligence agencies have accused Russia of preparing a false-flag operation to invade Ukraine.

US officials told the media on Friday that American intelligence findings point to Russia laying the groundwork for fabricating a pretext for invasion by blaming Ukraine for preparing an "imminent attack" against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, a charge Moscow denies.

"The Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February," one official told The Hill. "We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea."

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