Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said that the United States believes Moscow "has developed plans to inflict widespread human rights abuses — and potentially worse — on the Ukrainian people."
Blinken shared the bleak assessment during a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Early Thursday, Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, calling it a "special military operation," and Blinken said that "all evidence suggests that Russia intends to encircle and threaten Kyiv."
Explosions have been heard in Kyiv since the start of the invasion, and Russian paratroopers and Ukrainian forces fought at the Hostomel airport just outside the city. The airport is back in Ukrainian control, an official told Reuters, but a senior U.S. defense official warned that Russian forces are getting closer to Kyiv.
The United States and other Western countries warned for weeks that Russia planned to invade Ukraine, leading to denials from Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders. Blinken called Putin out, saying Russia "engaged in the pretense of diplomacy while insisting that they had no intentions of invading Ukraine. All the while, the Kremlin has been preparing this cold-blooded attack, the scale of which has not been seen in Europe since the Second World War."
Now, Blinken continued, the "entire international community" can "plainly see Russia's complete abandonment and abdication of the commitments it made to the world — and we will never forget."