Russia is ready to attack Ukraine “now,” a US official said

Russian armored vehicles are loaded on railway platforms at a railway station in the region near the Russian-Ukrainian border, in the Rostov region, Russia, Wednesday, February 23, 2022. US President Joe Biden announced that the US is imposing tough financial sanctions against Russia, saying Moscow grossly violated international law in what he called “the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” (Photo by AP)

(NEXSTAR) – Russia’s armed forces are now “as ready as they can be” to launch a full-scale attack on Ukraine, a senior US defense official in Washington warned on Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the confidentiality of information.

The official added that as of Wednesday, 80% of troops along the Ukrainian border and inside Belarus had moved to “advanced positions.”

Russian forces have “increased their readiness to the point where they are literally ready to go – now,” the official said.

Demonstrators hold placards and flags during a protest outside the Russian Embassy in London on Wednesday, February 23, 2022. Ukraine has called on its citizens to leave Russia as Europe prepares for further confrontation on Wednesday after Russia’s leader received permission to use military force outside his country and the West responded with a series of sanctions. (AP Photo / Alberto Pezzali)

These words corresponded to the words of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who said in an interview with NBC that “Russia has deployed its forces in the final point of readiness across Ukraine’s borders – north, east, south – everything seems to be for Russia to get involved. major aggression against Ukraine. “

Fears of an imminent offensive intensified late Wednesday when the Kremlin said insurgent leaders in eastern Ukraine had asked Russia for military assistance to help repel Ukrainian “aggression.”

FILE – Ukrainian Marines look at a combat position on the line of separation from pro-Russian insurgents, Donetsk region, Ukraine, January 7, 2022. The new poll finds little support among Americans for the important role of the United States in Russia. The Ukrainian conflict. President Joe Biden has acknowledged that the growing likelihood of a new war in Eastern Europe will affect Americans, even if American troops do not deploy in Ukraine. Only 26% of Americans say the United States should play a major role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC’s Center for Public Relations Research. (AP Photo / Andriy Dubchak, file)

Given that Russian lawmakers have allowed Putin to use military force outside the country, and Ukraine is surrounded on three sides by more than 150,000 troops, the roar of tanks seemed imminent.

Ukraine, after weeks of trying to project calm, has imposed a nationwide state of emergency.

A woman walks next to a large font near the photographic memorial to those killed in the confrontation between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatist forces in Severodonetsk, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, February 23, 2022. Ukraine urges its citizens to leave Russia on Wednesday after tensions escalated when the Russian leader received permission to use military force outside his country and the West responded with a series of sanctions. (AP Photo / Vadim Girda)

The President of Ukraine rejects Moscow’s claim that his country poses a threat to Russia, and warns that the impending Russian invasion could lead to tens of thousands of deaths.

This was stated by President Vladimir Zelensky in a video message on Thursday.

Emotionally speaking in Russia, he said: “The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace. But if we are attacked, which threatens our freedom and the lives of our people, we will fight back. “

Zelensky says he tried to call Russian President Vladimir Putin late Wednesday, but the Kremlin remained silent.

contributed to this report.

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