Russian commanders finalizing invasion plans – media
Washington believes that Russian troops are now poised to roll across the border into Ukraine and begin a bloody occupation, US media has reported, citing classified intelligence reports claiming that Moscow has already given top military officers their orders to proceed with the attack.
On Friday, President Joe Biden announced that he believes his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, had “made the decision” to invade Ukraine, and Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated that claim on Sunday. Outlets including CNN and the New York Times said on Sunday that Biden’s claim was underpinned by US intelligence reports that the Kremlin had already given invasion orders.
Despite several months of warnings Moscow could launch the offensive, CBS News wrote Washington’s intelligence agencies are doubling down on their predictions having reportedly discovered that “Russian commanders” on the ground had received their orders and were making “specific plans” for maneuvers in their sectors of the battlefield. The outlet, however, noted that an invasion isn’t a certainty because Putin could change his mind.
The US State Department on Sunday told American citizens in Russia to prepare their “evacuation plans,” citing unspecified “media sources” as warning of attacks on hotels, metro stations and other targets in major Russian cities. The department had previously moved its Ukrainian embassy to Lvov from Kiev and urged American citizens both in Ukraine and neighboring Belarus to leave the country.
Moscow has repeatedly denied having any intention of invading Ukraine and has said that the US and other NATO members are escalating security tensions in the region. Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, reiterated Moscow’s position in a CBS interview on Sunday, saying, “There is no invasion.” He added that the US and NATO are ignoring Russia’s security concerns while presuming that they have a right to tell Moscow how it can deploy its troops even within Russian territory.
Past media predictions of a Russian invasion have gone into similar levels of detail, but ultimately no offensive has yet been launched. Several British tabloids went so far as to not only say that the attack would begin last Wednesday, but even pegged the exact timing, saying the missiles would start flying at 1am GMT.
After the invasion hour came and went without an attack, The Sun changed the time element in its headline to “at any time.” Like Sunday’s media reports of invasion orders being given, the Sun’s article cited “US intelligence” as its source.
Ukraine’s own Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov warned on Sunday against “inappropriate” speculation concerning an imminent Russian attack, saying that “no strike group has been formed” on his country's borders.