The U.S. has informed the Ukrainian government of intelligence indicating that Russia will move forward with a full-scale invasion of the country within the next 48 hours, according to multiple media reports.
Unnamed U.S. intelligence officials first reportedly leaked news of the development to Newsweek on Wednesday morning, and CNN later reported the same thing from its sources. President Joe Biden’s administration has warned for weeks that a Russian invasion could happen at any time, and its initial report of a Feb. 16 invasion did not come to fruition. (RELATED: ‘What A Mess’: Trump Weighs In On Ukraine Conflict Ahead Of Biden Speech)
“The President of Ukraine has been warned Russia will highly likely begin an invasion within 48 hours based on U.S. intelligence,” the U.S. official “with direct knowledge” told Newsweek.
“Additionally, reporting from aircraft observers indicates Russia violated Ukrainian airspace earlier today, flying possible reconnaissance aircraft for a short period over Ukraine,” the official reportedly also said.
CNN then offered the same report, citing unnamed Ukrainian and U.S. officials.
JUST IN: Confirming Newsweek that the U.S. has issued a new warning to the Ukrainian government that the latest intelligence points to a full scale attack imminently, per Ukrainian and US officials.
At particular risk, the warning said, is the northeastern city of Kharkiv.
— Katie Bo Lillis (@KatieBoLillis) February 23, 2022
“Less than 30km across the border from Kharkiv in Russia, there has been a big build-up of Russian armor & support vehicles,” CNN reporter Katie Bo Lillis tweeted Wednesday. “Ukraine says no plans to evacuate Kharkiv but the Ukrainian pres has called for a state of emergency across the country starting at midnight.”
Putin first invaded Ukrainian territory Monday after asserting the independence of two separatist groups claiming to control parts of eastern Ukraine. He then ordered troops into those regions, sparking sanctions from Biden on Russian financial institutions as well as high-ranking individuals Tuesday. Germany also responded by halting the certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
The U.S. and NATO allies have vowed more aggressive economic consequences should Russia move forward with a further invasion of Ukraine.
Putin asked Russian lawmakers Monday to authorize him to use force outside of Russia, a formality given Putin’s control over the country. The lawmakers granted his request by Tuesday afternoon. The authorization was yet another sign that Putin may plan to escalate the conflict with Ukraine beyond even the deployment of troops in separatist-controlled areas.