US Ambassador to UN: Russia's buildup shows 'intentions to' attack

Biden’s Ambassador to UN claims Russia’s military buildup shows ‘intentions to’ attack Ukraine and warns Monday’s Security Council meeting is last chance to find ‘diplomatic way out for the Russians’

  • U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia wouldn’t have amassed 100,000 troop at the Ukraine border if they did not intend to use them
  • Also said Monday’s Security Council meeting is last chance to find ‘diplomatic way out for the Russians’ 
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday NATO is trying to ‘drag’ Ukraine into the alliance
  • Lavrov also claims that Russia wants a ‘good, equal, mutually respectful’ relationship with the U.S. 
  • Comes after Biden said he would unilaterally deploy troops to Eastern Europe if NATO does not back the decision 
  • A fourth shipment of millions in. American military aid landed in Ukraine Friday

The top U.S. official for the United Nations said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s build-up of troops at the border with Ukraine proves he has ‘intentions to use them’.

President Joe Biden’s Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield also told ABC’s This Week program that Monday’s U.N. Security Council meeting could be the last chance to find diplomatic avenues for Russia as the world waits to see if they will invade Ukraine.

‘The Russians have amassed 100,000 troops along the border, they have moved troops into Belarus, they have continued to escalate despite our efforts to try to find a diplomatic route for them and to encourage them to deescalate it,’ Thomas-Greenfield said.

She added: ‘You don’t amass 100,000 troops if you don’t have intentions to use them.’

Thomas-Greenfield is the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations as well as the Representative of the United States of America in the U.N. Security Council, which is holding a meeting Monday on Russia’s escalation along Ukraine’s border.

‘Part of the reason we’re calling for this meeting on Monday is one more opportunity to find a diplomatic way out for the Russians,’ she said.

She insisted: ‘We have made clear that we’re prepared to address our concerns, Ukrainian concerns and Russian concerns at the diplomatic table. But it cannot be done on the battlefield.’

Comes after Biden has said he could act unilaterally to move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe and the Baltic region if Russia does invade and NATO does not back his deployment. 

Russia claims the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is trying to ‘drag’ Ukraine into the military alliance as fears mount that Moscow is preparing to invade.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Sunday that Russia would not have built a troop presence at the Ukraine border if they did not intend to use them. She also said Monday’s Security Council meeting is last chance to find ‘diplomatic way out for the Russians’

Russia has amassed 100,000 troops at the border with Ukraine, but Moscow has insisted it has no intentions to invade

‘[NATO] has already come close to Ukraine. They also want to drag this country there,’ Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday. ‘Although everyone understands that Ukraine is not ready and could make no contribution to strengthening NATO security.’

Ukraine has sought NATO membership for years, but any prospects of joining appear far off as the country struggles to find political stability and attack corruption.

In comments on state television Sunday, Lavrov also challenged NATO’s claim to be a purely defensive structure.

Russia’s massing of an estimated 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine has brought increasingly strong warnings from the West that Moscow intends to invade.

‘We want good, equal, mutually respectful relations with the United States, like with every country in the world,’ Lavrov said, denying claims that Russia poses a threat to Ukraine.

He added, however, that Russia does not want to remain in a position ‘where our security is infringed daily’. 

Meanwhile, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are demanding sanctions on Russia.

‘There is an incredible bipartisan resolve for support of Ukraine and an incredibly strong bipartisan resolve to have severe consequences for Russia if it invades Ukraine,’ Democratic Senator Bob Menendez told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Ranking Member Republican Senator James Risch from Idaho to discuss bipartisan negotiations on economic sanctions on Russia. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday NATO is trying to ‘drag’ Ukraine into the alliance. Lavrov addresses the State Duma, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, January 26, 2022

‘So, you will get there?’ CNN’s Dana Bash asked regarding Congress’ efforts to pass sanctions on Russia.

‘We think so,’ Risch said. ‘I’m more than cautiously optimistic at this point that, when we get back to D.C. tomorrow, that we’re going to be moving forward.’

Moscow last week detailed a list of demands it is requesting as warning of sanctions ensued – the U.S. and NATO responded to those demands but did not agree to some of the top issues for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin demanded that NATO promise never to allow Ukraine or other ex-Soviet bloc countries to join the alliance, and to stop the deployment of NATO weapons near Russian borders and roll back its forces from Eastern Europe.

The United Kingdom said it was preparing fresh sanctions against Moscow.

The head of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, on Sunday rejected Western warnings about a planned invasion.

‘At this time, they’re saying that Russia threatens Ukraine – that’s completely ridiculous,’ he was quoted as saying by state news agency Tass. ‘We don’t want war and we don’t need it at all.’

Russia has long resented NATO’s granting membership to countries that were once part of the Soviet Union or were in its sphere of influence as members of the Warsaw Pact.

Lavrov also underlined on Sunday Russia’s contention that NATO expansion is a threat because it has engaged in offensive actions outside its member countries.

‘It is difficult to call it defensive. Do not forget that they bombed Yugoslavia for almost three months, invaded Libya, violating the U.N. Security Council resolution, and how they behaved in Afghanistan,’ he said.

Russia could attack Ukraine within weeks, intelligence sources have said, after Biden shared a phone call with President Zelensky last night during which he warned an attack is likely to come in February

More aid arrived in Ukraine on Friday. It is the fourth part of a $200 million shipment of American military aid that is being sent to help its ally after Russia mobilized more than 100,000 troops to its border with Ukraine

The U.S. and NATO have formally rejected Russia’s demands about halting NATO expansion, although Washington outlined areas where discussions are possible, offering hope that there could be a way to avoid war.

Putin has made no public remarks about the Western response. Lavrov has said it leaves little chance for reaching agreement, though he also says Russia doesn’t want war.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Friday that Putin could use any portion of his force to seize Ukrainian cities and ‘significant territories’ or to carry out ‘coercive acts or provocative political acts’ like the recognition of breakaway territories inside Ukraine.

Two territories in eastern Ukraine have been under the control of Russia-backed rebels since 2014, after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.


The Normandy Format was established between Germany, France, Russia and the Ukraine in 2014. 

It was formed to broker a cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine following Russia’s annexation of Crimea. 

A cease-fire was agreed on in 2015, but continued talks between the nations stalled from 2016 to 2019.

In 2019, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, who ran on a promise to bring peace between his nation and Russia, criticized the Normandy Format of ‘continuing bickering’ and described the support of France and Germany as ‘lukewarm.’ 

The group’s March 2020 summit was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Normandy Format met during a video call on January 26, 2022, to discuss the current crisis at the Ukraine-Russian border. 

The group has agreed to meet in two weeks in Berlin, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying that the talks would focus on ‘de-escalation’ along the border.

Putin has agreed to hold talks with Germany, France and Ukraine as NATO fails to take action on the rising conflict in Eastern Europe.

President Joe Biden also announced on Friday that he would deploy troops ‘in the near term’ without backing from NATO after earlier in the week he put 8,500 troops on standby for possible deployment to the region.

Doubts were already emerging that France, Germany, Turkey and Hungary would not vote in favor of Biden deploying troops if he tried to do so under NATO’s Response Force, which requires a unanimous vote from all 30 ally countries.

The blow to NATO and exclusion of America in negotiation talks on the Russian-Ukraine crisis came after Putin accused the U.S. and NATO of ignoring the Kremlin’s ‘fundamental concerns’ over NATO’s growth during a call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

During the call, Putin argued that the West had refused Russians demands of ‘preventing NATO expansion, refusing to deploy strike weapons systems near Russian borders’ and withdrawing allied forces to positions they held in 1997, prior to NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe, Politico reported.

Rather than meet with NATO, Putin has agreed to discuss the issue with the European-led Normandy Format, a grouping that includes France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. Their meetings center on the cease-fire agreement that the countries brokered in eastern Ukraine in 2015, and it also offers a path to a broader settlement.

Putin said he had ‘no offensive plans’ in eastern Ukraine, according to Macron, who said the nations’ talks would focus on ‘de-escalation’ along the Ukraine-Russian border, the New York Times reported.

The Normandy Format will meet in Berlin in two weeks, after Russia has already amassed over 100,000 troops at the Ukraine border.

Although the scheduled talks between the European nations raises hopes for peace, it undermines America’s involvement by excluding the U.S, and NATO as Ukrainian officials said they were annoyed by Biden’s vow to mobilize troops in the area without NATO’s backing.

‘I’ll be moving troops to Eastern Europe and the NATO countries in the near term. Not too many,’ Biden said as he got off Air Force One after a trip to Pittsburgh.

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley had warned of mass casualties in the Ukraine and Eastern Europe should Russia attack with such a large force.

‘This is larger in scale and scope, and the massing of forces than anything we’ve seen in recent memory,’ Milley said.

Given the forces Putin has at his disposal, ‘if that was unleashed on Ukraine, it would be significant, very significant, and it would result in a significant amount of casualties,’ he added.

‘You can imagine what that might look like in dense urban areas, along roads, and so on and so forth. It would be horrific. It would be terrible. And it’s not necessary. And we think a diplomatic outcome is the way to go here.’

The latest shipment of weapons from the U.S. arrived in Ukraine on Friday ahead of President Joe Biden ‘s commitment to deploy troops to Eastern Europe without NATO’s backing.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that a plane loaded with Javelin anti-tank missiles, anti-armor weapons, grenade launches, artillery, small arms and ammunition has arrived in Ukraine.

It is the fourth part of a $200 million shipment of American military aid that is being sent to help its ally as Biden warned that U.S, troops would be sent near the Russian-Ukraine border ‘in the near term’.

However, he said, they would not necessarily be deployed as part of a NATO force.

‘I’ll be moving troops to Eastern Europe and the NATO countries in the near term. Not too many,’ Biden said as he got off Air Force One after a trip to Pittsburgh.

NATO has failed to come up with a common position on deploying troops to the region with many of its 30-strong members against military action.

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