“This Is a Moment of Peril”: Antony Blinken Warns of Imminent Russian Invasion of Ukraine

In a UN address, the secretary of state gave his bleakest assessment yet of the situation.

Michael Sohn/AFP/Getty

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

In a Thursday speech to the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered the bleakest warning yet of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine in the coming days. 

“As we meet today, the most immediate threat to peace and security is Russia’s looming aggression against Ukraine,” he said. “This is a moment of peril for the lives and safety of millions of people.” 

Blinken’s stark address came only hours after news broke that Russia had expelled the second-highest-ranking US diplomat in Moscow, which the State Department described as an “escalatory step.” Tensions between Russia and the West have simmered over Vladimir Putin’s menacing build-up of military forces near the Ukrainian border, a prelude to what US government officials have described as a likely “false flag” operation to justify an invasion.

In his speech, Blinken outlined multiple possible scenarios, from a “fabricated, so-called terrorist bombing inside Russia” to the “invented discovery of a mass grave.” These claims echo recent US public statements about Russia using a pretext to invade, which have drawn criticism for not including evidence, a point Blinken seemed to acknowledge. 

“I’m mindful that some have called into question our information, recalling previous instances where intelligence did not ultimately bear out,” he said, a nod to bogus US intelligence claims in the run-up to the Iraq War. “But let me be clear: I am here today not to start a war, but to prevent one.” He added that the United States’ information was validated by “what we’ve seen unfolding in plain sight before our eyes.” 

Putin has demanded several guarantees from Western nations, including that Ukraine be barred from joining NATO, the trans-Atlantic military alliance. Blinken, speaking to reporters in December, rejected this idea, saying the notion that a country has a “right to exert a sphere of influence” ought to be “relegated to the dustbin of history.” 

As the crisis has ballooned in recent weeks, the Biden administration urged US citizens to leave Ukraine and sent US troops to nearby NATO allies like Poland. What happens next, Blinken made clear, is up to Putin. In his closing remarks, he urged Russia without “qualification, equivocation, or deflection” to say it “will not invade Ukraine.”

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate