Watch CBS News

Secretary of State Blinken at U.N. says he wants to prevent war in Ukraine

get the free app
  • link copied
Secretary of State Blinken says Russia will manufacture a pretext for Ukraine attack 08:01

Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered remarks at the United Nations Thursday morning on the threat posed by Russia, as the U.S. says evidence shows Russia is "moving toward an imminent" invasion of Ukraine. Speaking at the U.N. Security Council meeting in New York City, he said the U.S. does not intend to start a war, as Russia may claim, but to stop one. 

"I am here today not to start a war, but to prevent one," he said. 

Blinken urged Russia to return troops, tanks and planes back to their Russian bases, and to send diplomats instead. 

"The Russian government can announce today, with no qualification, equivocation or deflection that Russia will not invade Ukraine," he said. "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."

Blinken disputed Russian claims that Moscow is drawing down its roughly 150,000 troops near Ukraine. 

"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."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at United Nations
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield behind him, speaks at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Russia and Ukraine, on February 17, 2022, in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

The secretary of state appealed to his international colleagues, underlining the threat Russia poses not just to Ukraine, but to 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. 

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Thursday that overnight, after a series of conversations with the White House, the National Security Council, and the State Department, she asked Blinken to come speak directly to the UN Security Council on his way to Munich about the serious situation in Ukraine.

"Our goal is to convey the gravity of the situation," she said. "The evidence on the ground is that Russia is moving toward an imminent invasion. This is a crucial moment. This morning's Council meeting should not distract us from that fact - it should focus on what is happening right now in Ukraine."

"That's why Secretary Blinken is coming to New York to signal our intense commitment to diplomacy, to offer and emphasize the path toward de-escalation, and to make it clear to the world that we are doing everything — everything — we can to prevent a war," she said.

Pamela Falk contributed reporting from the United Nations.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.