New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said an invasion of Ukraine had been Russian President Vladimir Putins “plan all along”, calling the situation a “manufactured crisis”, The Guardian reported.
In a joint press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Washington, Blinken said: “His (Putin) plan all along has been to invade Ukraine; to control Ukraine and its people; to destroy Ukraine’s democracy, which offers a stark contrast to the autocracy that he leads; to reclaim Ukraine as a part of Russia.
During the press conference, Blinken also added that he will no longer meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris on Friday as planned.
“Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy it does not make sense to go forward that meeting at this time.”
Blinken’s remarks come after President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced the first round of tougher sanctions against Russian banks, oligarchs and others, with plans to escalate sanctions if Moscow advances its invasion.