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NATO chief: ‘Every indication’ points to Russia planning for full-scale invasion

People gather for a rally in support of Ukraine sovereignty while Russia's military presence at the border and in the region continues as the U.N. Security Council holds a meeting on the tensions between Ukraine and Russia outside of the U.N. on Feb. 17.
UPI Photo

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday said “every indication” points to Russia planning “for a full-scale attack on Ukraine” but that Moscow still has a chance to turn back.

“We see the ongoing military buildup. They promised to step back, but they had continued to step up. … And then, of course, we saw last night that further Russian troops moved into Donbass, into parts of Donetsk and Luhansk. And then we have the threatening rhetoric, which was actually confirmed in the speech of [Russian President Vladimir Putin] yesterday,” he said in a press briefing.

“At the same time, it’s never too late. It’s never too late to not attack. And that’s reason why we continue to call on Russia to step back, to de-escalate and to engage in good faith in diplomatic efforts to find a political solution,” he added.

The comment comes as Russia has authorized troops to go into Ukraine after Putin recognized two Moscow-backed separatist regions as independent. 

The move to recognize their independence was widely condemned by Western countries, with multiple nations imposing sanctions on Russia.

Ukraine has said it will not be handing territory over to Russia and urged its citizens to remain calm.

On Tuesday, Putin ratified treaties with the Moscow-backed Donbas region, which would allow Russia to build military defenses in the area. 

Russia has more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, along with military weapons.

Although the Kremlin’s spokesperson would not say if troops were already in Ukraine, some European and U.S. officials said there were and called it an invasion.

British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said, “The invasion of Ukraine has begun.”

“We are waking up to a very dark day in Europe, and it’s clear from what we have already seen and found out today that the Russians, President Putin, has decided to attack the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity,” he added.

Tags Europe Russo-Ukrainian War Ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

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