Russia is preparing to carry out a full-scale invasion of Ukraine within the next 48 hours, U.S. intelligence officials revealed to Newsweek on Wednesday.
"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 told the publication, adding that "reporting from aircraft observers indicates Russia violated Ukrainian airspace earlier today, flying possible reconnaissance aircraft for a short period over Ukraine."
A source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's government also confirmed that such a warning was given by the United States, although he pointed out that this was the third time Kyiv has been told about imminent large-scale Russian military action within the last month.
However, the source said that "it's possible for sure," because "Putin can't keep so many troops in the field much longer."
Other media outlets were reporting similar timelines.
ABC News quoted an unnamed senior defense official as saying, "we have we have been saying any day now, and it is certainly possible that today is that day," the official said. "They could go at any hour now."
The U.S. intelligence source told Newsweek that the assessment includes Russian airstrikes, cruise missiles, and a ground invasion, as well as a major thrust toward the capital Kyiv from the northern border with Belarus, where the Russian military recently held joint exercises with their ally, according to Newsweek.
The source indicated, however, that daily developments could alter Moscow's plans.
A second U.S. official said that a ground invasion, most likely at night, would be preceded by a cyberattack.
A short time after Newsweek was made aware of these American assessments, the websites for Ukraine's Defense Ministry, Foreign Ministry and other institutions suddenly went offline in what may have been a large-scale cyberattack.
Another source who participated in a National Security Council call on Tuesday confirmed to the publication the White House was "incredibly pessimistic" about the Kremlin’s military operation being limited to the Russia-backed rebel republics and that an invasion would likely take place within 24 to 48 hours.
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