While the doors for reconciliation remain open between the US and Russia to defuse the war-like situation at the Ukraine border, the top US intelligence has claimed that the Russian authorities have already issued orders to go ahead with an invasion of Ukraine.
The key intelligence inputs come along with the announcement by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the US President Joe Biden was willing to meet Russia's Vladimir Putin ‘at any time' to prevent a war in Ukraine. “everything we're seeing suggests that this is deadly serious, that we are on the brink of an invasion,” Blinken said.
The US intelligence reports come amid Ukraine and Russia pushing through intensified diplomatic efforts to avert an all-out war. After separate calls with France's President Emmanuel Macron, both Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky pressed for more talks.
Meanwhile, an aggressive military action has already begun in and around Ukraine, which is facing increased shelling from Russian-backed separatist rebels and a force of what Blinken and Western capitals say is more than 150,000 Russian troops on its borders.
According to top US intelligence, “President Vladimir Putin has already decided to invade,” US President Joe Biden was informed on Sunday. The US authorities have also cited the movement of the Russian military units that were seen taking steps to carry out the order in preparation for an invasion.
“As of this moment, I'm convinced he's made the decision. We have reason to believe that,” Biden said at the White House Friday. Asked how the US knew, the president said only: “We have a significant intelligence capability.”
Biden's assertion had marked a shift after weeks of saying the US believed Putin hadn't made a final decision. On Saturday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he agreed with Biden that Putin had decided to invade and that Russia's military was now in “the stance that you need to be in to attack.”
White House officials say that the threat level in eastern Ukraine and along the Russian border has not diminished over the weekend, despite diplomatic efforts by Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a major annual security conference in Munich. The White House said that Biden was briefed again on Saturday by his aides that “Russia could launch an attack against Ukraine at any time.”
On Sunday, Biden convened a weekend meeting of theNational Security Council focused on Ukraine, the White House said. Austin and Blinken, both were spotted entering the West Wing shortly before noon. A White House official said Harris would participate in the meeting remotely from Air Force Two while she flies back from Germany.
Blinken earlier pointed out all his earlier predictions that Russia would mount false flag operations in eastern Ukraine and use purported temporary military exercises to justify a military buildup near Ukraine's border.
“Everything we said was likely to occur in the lead up to the actual invasion is happening,” Blinken earlier said.