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Ukraine Foreign Minister: "We will be defending our country"

Putin's "biggest mistake"
Ukraine's foreign minister reveals Putin's "biggest mistake" 03:19

President Joe Biden convened the National Security Council on Sunday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. 

The Security Council meeting comes as it's announced that a sizable number of Russian troops will remain in Belarus, Ukraine's northern neighbor, following multinational military exercises that were initially scheduled to conclude over the weekend. 

Mr. Biden told reporters on Friday at the White House that he is "convinced" Russian President Vladimir Putin has already decided to attack its neighbor. That sentiment was further reiterated by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who said on Saturday that Russian forces "are uncoiling and are now poised to strike."

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaking Saturday in Lithuania. Getty Images

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported Sunday on "Face the Nation" that American intelligence believes Russian military commanders have received orders to proceed with an invasion of Ukraine.

Top U.S. government and military officials have recently made public potential Russian strategies to justify an invasion of Ukraine. At the same time, Russia continued to amass troops along the Ukrainian border.

Russian troop locations bordering Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denies he plans to invade Ukraine. 

In an interview Sunday on 60 Minutes, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told correspondent Lesley Stahl, "We still see a room for diplomacy."

Stahl's interview with Kuleba came after a kindergarten was shelled in Ukraine's Donbas region, where the Ukrainian military has periodically exchanged fire with Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

Kindergarten shelled in Ukraine
A view from the shelled kindergarten in eastern Ukraine on February 17 Ukrainian Chief of General Staff via Getty Images

"The situation on the ground is very fragile," Kuleba told 60 Minutes. "Any returned fire can be considered as a provocation, as an attack. So we diligently follow rules. But, of course, we will not allow Russia to kill our soldiers, to kill our civilians. We will be defending our country."

Putin has stated repeatedly in recent years that he would use the Russian military to protect any Russian speakers around the world. It is one of the pretexts that U.S. officials have warned that Putin could use to attack Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Kuleba told 60 Minutes that Ukraine is a bilingual country and that, "The language issue is politicized but it's not actually an issue in our domestic life."

Ukraine's foreign minister reveals Putin's "biggest mistake" 03:19

"It doesn't make difference in Ukraine which language do you speak," Kuleba said to Stahl. "It's a choice between democracy and authoritarian regime. It's a choice between belonging to a country that defends what it stands for and belonging to a country that attacks those who, in the view of that country, pose a threat to them."

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