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Russia, US trade blows at UN meeting as fears mount over possible invasion of Ukraine

Linda Thomas-Greenfield UN ambassador
Posted at 7:49 AM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 19:36:15-05

UNITED NATIONS — Moscow has sent the United States a written response to answers to questions the U.S. sent to Moscow in writing days ago. The move comes after a face-to-face meeting amid continued tensions over what the U.S. says is a potential invasion of Ukraine by Russia as troops are amassed along the country's border.

As CNN reports, the written response comes after the U.S. sent documents ahead of a planned call between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

The U.N. Security Council met Monday for the first time on Russia's troop buildup and threatening actions against Ukraine at the request of the United States.

All key players squared off in public over the possibility of a Russian invasion and its global impact.

Russia said the West was "whipping up tensions" over Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Russia's actions pose "a clear threat to international peace and security and the U.N. Charter." She added that council members "must squarely examine the facts and consider what is at stake for Ukraine, for Russia, for Europe."

Thomas-Greenfield said that Russia's growing military force of more than 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine is the "largest mobilization in Europe in decades, the Associated Press reported.

Thomas-Greenfield said "they are attempting, without any factual basis, to paint Ukraine and Western countries as the aggressors to fabricate a pretext for attack.” 

"I can't recall another occasion when a SC [Security Council] member proposed to discuss its own baseless allegations and assumptions as a threat to intl [international] order from someone else. Hopefully fellow UNSC members will not support this clear PR stunt shameful for the reputation of UN Security Council," U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky tweeted.

Tensions have soared in recent weeks, and the United States and its NATO allies worry that the concentration of about 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine signals Moscow's intention to attack.

Russia denies having any such designs — and has laid out a series of demands it says will improve security in Europe, including a promise that NATO will not extend an invitation to Ukraine and a guarantee that the alliance will remove troops from Eastern Europe.

But the U.S. and the Western alliance have firmly rejected any concessions on Moscow's suggestions. Many of Russia's demands are nonstarters for NATO, creating a stalemate that many fear can only end in a war.

In the past, Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed frustration with the Soviet breakup of some countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. According to an Associated Press analysis, Putin sees those countries as part of a historic Russian linguistic and Orthodox motherland.

Last week, the Pentagon ordered 8,500 troops on higher alert — marking a change to a more aggressive stance from the Biden White House. In addition, NATO allies have begun transporting military equipment toward Ukraine.

Ukraine has tried to urge its citizens to remain calm and thwart fears of a potential Russian invasion. However, the U.S. has already ordered some of those staying at its embassy in Kyiv to leave the country.