The United States has obtained intelligence that Russian officers have been ordered to launch an invasion into Ukraine. David Martin, national security correspondent for CBS News, confirmed the information during an appearance on Confront the Nation Sunday.
The intelligence suggests Russian commanders are making military preparations and “doing whatever American commanders would do once ordered to continue,” Martin said.
Earlier on Sunday, the State Department and the Pentagon said the United States was still doing everything it could to try to defuse the Russia-Ukraine crisis as an incursion grew increasingly likely.
Speaking on CNN State of the UnionSecretary of State Antony Blinken said the positioning of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces in the immediate geographic vicinity of Ukraine indicated an imminent incursion.
“He followed the script almost to the letter,” he said.
In a presentation to the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, Blinken noted that the United States expects Russia to manufacture a crisis that could serve as a pretext for intervention. Russia just extended drills with its roughly 30,000 troops in Belarus last Sunday, as joint military drills were due to end. On Sunday, the Belarusian defense minister cited growing tensions in eastern Ukraine as a reason “to continue inspection of the reaction forces”. As recently as last week, Russia had no plans to extend its military presence in Belarus.
“As we’ve described, everything leading up to the actual invasion seems to be happening: all these false flag operations, all these provocations to create justifications,” he said.
However, Blinken said the United States would try to negotiate with Russia until the last minute.
“We believe President Putin has made the decision, but until the tanks actually roll and the planes fly, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from pursue that,” he said. added.
“We will do everything we can to try to prevent it before it happens, but we are also ready, if it succeeds, to impose massive consequences, to ensure the continued defense of Ukraine and to strengthen NATO,” Blinken said.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Sunday the United States was leading a “full press” to deter Putin, exhausting all avenues of negotiation to convince him to change his mind.
Responding to questions about why the United States has not imposed preemptive sanctions on Russia, Kirby noted that such action, if used prematurely, could cause what it is trying to prevent. “If you’re punishing someone for something they haven’t done yet, then you might as well go ahead and do it,” he said.
On Friday, President Joe Biden told reporters he was confident Putin had made up his mind and the invasion was imminent in the “coming days”. Vice President Kamala Harris backed that belief on Sunday.
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