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Putin wants to be the Russian leader "who restored the empire," Ukraine's U.N. envoy says

Ukrainian diplomat on threat from Russia
Ukrainian diplomat warns of likely bloodshed if Russia invades 04:25

United Nations — With 100,000 Russian troops near Ukraine's borders and U.S. troops deploying to Europe, Ukraine's U.N. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya tells CBS News that his country has "full trust" in the U.S. and is consulting closely with Washington as the Biden administration negotiates with Russia to de-escalate the crisis

President Biden has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an invasion of Ukraine at any time, and his administration alleged on Thursday that Moscow is already plotting to stage a fake video that it could use as a pretext to invade.

Russia insists that it has no intention of attacking Ukraine and accuses the U.S. and NATO of stoking the tension by refusing to accept Moscow's demands for "security guarantees" from the Western alliance.

Russia is planning to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine, according to U.S. officials 02:48

But Kyslytsya told CBS News that Putin is determined to reclaim Ukraine as pro-Russian ground, by force if necessary, and he said his country is in lockstep with the U.S. Kyslytsya said he is grateful for American support in trying to prevent what he said would be "absolute bloodshed" in his country if Russia invades.

Below are excerpts of Kyslytsya's interview with CBS News: 

CBS News' Pamela Falk, on the proposals sent from Washington to Russia to ease the standoff: Is this an agreement that works for Ukraine?  

Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya:  We saw the draft answer before the draft answer was sent to the Russians and we operate in a daily close coordination, operation with the Americans… We have full trust in what the Americans do so far. We very much appreciate their willingness to discuss with us their ideas and their steps. 

Falk: Do you think Ukrainian civilians are prepared to fight the Russians if they do come in? 

Ambassador: Absolutely, I have no doubt whatsoever. And that is the level of determination of the Ukrainian nation to defend their independence. It is incredible.  

Outside Ukraine's capital, civilians train to defend their land against potential Russian invasion 02:08

Falk: What does that look like for Ukrainian civilians to be fighting one of the most powerful armies in the world?  

Ambassador: It would be total bloodshed… The Ukrainians want to be in NATO. Before 2014, they were already very pro-European Union… At that moment and before 2014, there was no majority.  If you polled the nation, we wouldn't have more than 50% of Ukrainians in favor of the NATO membership. Now, we have very high figures of Ukrainians if they ask if they want to be in NATO. Because now they realize that trying to defend ourselves on our own is not only questionable from the military point of view, but it is also exceptionally expensive economically and financially.  

Falk: What do you believe Putin wants?  

Ambassador: He wants to restore the Russian empire no matter how it's called, to the new Soviet Union, the Russian empire, the new Federation, whatever. He wants to be in the book of history as a state leader who restored the empire, no matter how they will call it.  

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