The situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border is becoming more and more dangerous.
The United States and its allies have new intelligence from Russia suggesting that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine even before the end of the Beijing Winter Olympics, according to various sources quoted by CNNi.
Previous estimates had suggested that Russia was unlikely to invade Ukraine until the end of the Winter Olympics on February 20, US officials told CNNi.
The revelation of the new information comes at a time when Biden government officials have intensified their public warnings about the Ukrainian crisis in the last twenty-four hours.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said earlier Friday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine “could start at any time”, even during the Beijing Winter Olympics, and that the United States continues to “see a lot”. “Concerned signs of Russian escalation, including new forces reaching the Ukrainian border.”
He reiterated the State Department's call for US citizens – in addition to diplomatic staff – who are in Ukraine to leave the country immediately.
Kiev is among the targets identified in the Russian plan, three sources familiar with the new information told CNNi.
There are ongoing discussions within the US government about the declassification of some of this new information, while two US officials estimate that this may happen within the day.
US President Joe Biden was due to discuss the latest information over the phone with NATO and European allies on Friday morning, a White House official told CNNi. A European Defense official said the North Atlantic Alliance was expected to discuss the situation and new information later in the day.
Biden also attended a meeting of his top national security advisers on Thursday afternoon in the White House's emergency room to discuss the crisis, said a person familiar with the meeting.
Satellite images from the development of the Russian army
Meanwhile, photos of a private US company taken by commercial satellites show new Russian military developments in locations near Ukraine.
US-based Maxar Technologies, which has been monitoring the deployment of Russian forces for weeks, said photos taken the day before yesterday, Wednesday, and yesterday, Thursday, showed significant new developments at several locations in annexed Crimea, western Russia. and Belarus.
Reuters notes that it could not confirm the authenticity of the photos from an independent source.
In Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014 by deporting from Ukraine, Maxar says it has spotted a major new troop deployment at Oktyabrskoye airport north of Simferopol, which includes 550 military tents and hundreds of vehicles.
New troops and equipment have also arrived near Novozernog, Crimea, according to the same source, which also points to a new development near Slavne, on the peninsula's northwest coast.
Military high schools with Belarus
In Belarus, where major joint military exercises are held, Maxar says it has spotted a new deployment of troops, military vehicles and helicopters at Ziambrovka Airport near Gomel, less than 25 km from the Ukrainian border.
In a statement sent by e-mail on Thursday, Maxar said a large deployment of troops and forces had recently taken place from the Kursk exercise area in western Russia, about 110 km east of the Ukrainian border.
Russia has not disclosed the number of troops it has deployed and stresses that it has the right to move forces throughout its territory, if it deems it appropriate. He insists that these forces do not pose a threat to other countries.
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