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US to do everything to avert war ‘until the tanks are actually rolling’

The US will use “every opportunity and every minute” to avert a possible war between Russia and Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday.

In an interview with CNN, Blinken recalled earlier remarks by US President Joe Biden.

“You heard President Biden say this the other night: We believe (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin has made the decision, but until the tanks are actually rolling and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from carrying this forward.

“President Biden is prepared to engage President Putin at any time in any format if that can help prevent a war,” he added. “I’ve reached out to my Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister (Sergey) Lavrov, to urge that we meet next week in Europe. The plan is still to do that – unless Russia invades in the meantime.”

Blinken also expressed concern over ongoing Russian military “exercises” in eastern Ukraine.

“There is always a chance (that Putin is bluffing), but every indication that we’ve seen, every move that he’s made that has followed the play(book) that we laid out for the world to see in front of the United Nations Security Council, he is following the script almost to the letter,” he added.

Russia has been “escalating the forces they have across Ukraine’s borders over the last months from 50,000 forces to 100,000 to now more than 150,000,” he said. “So all of this along with the false flag operations we’ve seen unfold over the weekend tells us that the playbook that we laid out is moving forward.”


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