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Ukraine warned Russia invasion 'imminent,' UN chief urges Putin to 'give peace a chance'

APTOPIX Ukraine Tensions
Posted at 3:54 PM, Feb 23, 2022

U.S. intelligence has warned Ukraine that a full-scale Russian invasion is "imminent," according to published reports.

The warning was given to Ukraine Tuesday morning, CNN reported.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Russian President Vladimir Putin to not send Russian troops against Ukraine and “give peace a chance.” Guterres opened an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council late on Wednesday saying the day was full of rumors and indications that an offensive against Ukraine is imminent.

In the recent past, Guterres said, he never believed rumors that Russia would invade Ukraine and was “convinced that nothing serious would happen.”

But, he added, ”I was wrong, and I like not to be wrong again. So if indeed an operation is being prepared I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart: Stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said early Thursday local time while addressing his nation and Russia that Ukrainians don't "hate Russian culture." He said, "We are different, but this is no reason to be enemies. We want to define and build our own history. Peaceful, calm, honest."

As NBC reported, Zelenskyy said that he tried to call Russia's President Putin late on Wednesday but said his call was ignored.

“We are currently in the middle of the largest security crisis in Europe since the second World War," Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister said at a United Nations meeting.

Ukraine, which issued a state of emergency, has urged its citizens to leave Russia as it braces for a potential invasion.

According to The Associated Press, Russia has been asked by rebel leaders for military assistance to fend off Ukrainian “aggression.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already received authorization from lawmakers to use military force outside the country.

The U.S. says diplomacy is not off the table but added that Russia needs to demonstrate it wants to avoid conflict.

"Russia’s actions over the last 48 hours have, in fact, demonstrated the opposite," said State Department spokesperson Edward Price. "If Moscow’s approach changes, we remain ready to engage."

Russia has faced sanctions from the U.S. and Europe for its provocations.

Germany halted the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia — a massive, lucrative deal long sought by Moscow. The pipeline project has long been criticized by the United States and some European countries, who argue that it increases Europe's reliance on Russian energy supplies.

On Wednesday, the White House said in a statement that it would move forward with sanctions against the company that was building and operating the pipeline.

"These steps are another piece of our initial tranche of sanctions in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. As I have made clear, we will not hesitate to take further steps if Russia continues to escalate," the statement read.