Top U.S. officials have said that they expect Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, to fall to the Russians within days, multiple outlets reported.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Kyiv could fall within 96 hours and that the rest of the country would soon follow, Newsweek reported Thursday. The goal of Russia’s “special military operation,” as described by Russian President Vladimir Putin would be to advance on the ground and encircle Ukraine’s military forces, forcing them to surrender or face destruction, the official said.
“After the air and artillery end and the ground war really starts, I think Kyiv falls in just a few days,” one former senior U.S. intelligence officer told Newsweek. “The military may last slightly longer, but this isn’t going to last long.” (RELATED: War Begins As Russia Engages In Full-Scale Invasion Of Ukraine)
Another source told the outlet that while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government agreed with the assessment, they did not believe that it would collapse if Kyiv were to fall.
Russia began its unprovoked invasion late Wednesday night eastern standard time, launching air raids and military strikes on an array of targets. At least 40 Russian soldiers were killed in the initial hours of the attack, including “a few” Ukrainian civilians.
The Russian military on Thursday also seized Chernobyl, the notorious nuclear disaster site, after intense fighting.
Putin’s actions were forcefully condemned in the west, with President Joe Biden Thursday unveiling crushing sanctions against the country and its companies.
“Putin chose this war,” Biden said. And now he and his country will bear the consequences.”
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