United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Thursday urged Russia to “abandon path of war” against Ukraine during his address at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Blinken also invited his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for a meeting in Europe next week to discuss the brewing crisis, news agency AFP reported.

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Blinken was on his way to an annual security conference in Germany, but was rerouted to the UNSC in New York City. 

Blinken’s comments came after tensions over the border standoff hit new heights today, amid conflicting reports of Russia withdrawing its troops. 

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A day after Moscow claimed it was withdrawing the nearly 150,000 troops stationed along the Ukraine border, NATO allies said Russia was actually building its forces

Western allies accused Russia of misleading the world with withdrawal claims, saying the country added 7,000 troops at the border. 

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden warned there is a “very high” risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine within “several days” as Russia moved troops toward the border with Ukraine instead of pulling them out.

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Speaking at the White House, Biden said there is “every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine.” He further said that the US has “reason to believe” that Russia is “engaged in a false flag operation to have an excuse to go in,” but did not provide details.

Biden also said he had “no plans” to speak with Putin anytime soon. 

In a move that the US called “unprovoked” and “escalatory”, Russia dismissed Bart Gorman, the deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Moscow. Moscow did not provide any explanation for the move. 

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Tensions also spiked along the line separating Ukrainian forces from Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east, with both sides trading accusations of intensive shelling