In a dramatic address to the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said "I am here today not to start a war but to prevent one." He referenced "evidence" though without detailing it that Russia is "moving toward an imminent" (there's that word again) invasion of Ukraine.
He then called on the Kremlin to "announce today, with no qualification, equivocation or deflection that Russia will not invade Ukraine," urging futher to "State it clearly, state it plainly to the world and then demonstrate it by sending your troops, your tanks, your planes back to their barracks and hangars, and sending your diplomats to the negotiating table."
He gave the speech soon on the heels of Biden telling reporters in unprepared remarks that his "sense" is that Russia will invade Ukraine "within the next several days."
"The information I presented here is validated by what we've seen unfolding in plain sight before our eyes for months. And remember that while Russia has repeatedly derided our warnings and alarms as melodrama and nonsense, they've been steadily amassing more than 150,000 troops on Ukraine's borders as well as the capabilities to conduct a massive military assault. It isn't just us seeing this. Allies and partners see the same thing," America's top diplomat said.
As if anticipating that all the latest White House timeline specific predictions will once again not materialize, Blinken added the key caveat in the UN address: "If Russia doesn't invade Ukraine, then we will be relieved that Russia changed course and proved our predictions wrong." He followed with: "We’ll gladly accept any criticism that anyone directs at us."
"Russia says it's drawing down those forces," he said. "We do not see that happening on the ground. Our information indicates clearly that these forces, including ground troops, aircraft, ships, are preparing to launch an attack against Ukraine in the coming days."
Given the UNSC setting, Blinken specifically claimed that Russia at this point doesn't just represent a threat to Ukraine, but to "every country in the world"...
"This crisis directly affects every member of this council and every country in the world, because the basic principles that sustain peace and security, principles that were enshrined in the wake of two world wars and the Cold War, are under threat — the principle that one country cannot change the borders of another by force," Blinken said.
He still held out the possibility for diplomacy, appealing directly to his Russian counter part Sergey Lavrov: "These meetings can pave the way for a summit of key leaders in the context of de-escalation, to reach understandings on our mutual security concerns," he said.
But possibly the most sensational and dramatic part of Blinken's speech, was his repeating the recent White House claims that Russia is planning a false flag attack as a pretext for invasion:
"Here's what the world can expect to see unfold, in fact it's unfolding right now, today... First, Russia plans to manufacture a pretext for its attack: this could be a violent event that Russia will blame on Ukraine, or an outrageous accusation that Russia will level against the Ukrainian government."
He specified that this "Russia-manufactured" pretext could come in the form of a "fake or real attack using chemical weapons".
He described the alarming alleged scenarios:
"It could be a fabricated so-called terrorist bombing inside Russia, the invented discovery of the mass grave, a staged drone strike against civilians, or a fake - even a real - attack using chemical weapons."
This false flag narrative had already been previewed by the White House weeks ago, when Jen Psaki said:
"As part of its plans, Russia’s laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for invasion. We have information that indicates Russia has already pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine. The operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces."
And more recently Ned Price was utterly humiliated when he floated the claims before an incredulous press pool, including Associated Press correspondent Matt Lee:
However, we've not entered "Alex Jones territory" as Lee hilariously charged, given that as of this latest UNSC address, it's more like Colin Powell territory.
When pressed for evidence by a journalist immediately after the speech, Biden waved his hand and shrugged off the demand for proof or any level of specific sourcing...
As if anticipating the Iraq War comparisons, Blinken had said in his Thursday speech:
"Some have called into question our information, recalling previous instances where intelligence ultimately did not bear out. But let me be clear: I am here today not to start a war, but to prevent one."
Meanwhile, Russia's foreign ministry has again asserted, "No ‘Russian invasion’ into Ukraine the US and its allies have been talking about since autumn has taken place or is planned."
And interestingly, words like "cherry-picking" intelligence are once again entering the lexicon. Here we go again.