U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that Russia could launch a new attack on Ukraine at "very short notice" as he met the country's president on the first leg of a new diplomatic push to avert war, APA reports citing Reuters.
Russia said tension around Ukraine was increasing and it was still waiting for a written U.S. response to its sweeping demands for security guarantees from the West.
The pessimistic statements highlighted the gulf between Washington and Moscow as Blinken gears up for a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday that a Russian foreign policy analyst called "probably the last stop before the train wreck".
Blinken told diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv that a Russian build-up of tens of thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border was taking place with "no provocation, no reason."
"We know that there are plans in place to increase that force even more on very short notice, and that gives President Putin the capacity, also on very short notice, to take further aggressive action against Ukraine," Blinken said.