Russian invasion of Ukraine set for ‘3am tomorrow’ with missiles and tank attack – Reuters
Intelligence sources say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will begin on Wednesday afternoon with Europe on the brink of war despite Vladimir Putin withdrawing some of his country’s forces
Kremlin leaders will order an attack on Ukraine tomorrow at 3 a.m. local time, according to US intelligence agencies.
They could target military and government command and control centers in Kyiv with a barrage of airstrikes before the tanks cross the border.
At the same time, Russian amphibious warfare ships could storm the southern coast of Ukraine. It comes as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned that a Russian invasion “wouldn’t stop in Ukraine”.
Europe could be only a few hours away from an all-out war in Ukraine, despite the final diplomatic maneuvers and a possible withdrawal of some troops from Moscow.
The disturbing news comes hours after Russia withdrew its forces from the Ukrainian border.
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Senior sources said an attack by Moscow would be “almost certainly from multiple points” on Ukraine’s southern, eastern and northern flanks.
The Mirror’s senior US source tipped off our team in Kyiv with a simple one-line message that read, “3am Wednesday”.
It comes as Britain has warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is highly likely, could be imminent and pose a threat to wider European stability.
Russia has more than 126,000 troops massed near Ukraine’s eastern border.
It also has 80,000 troops loyal to Moscow in Belarus to the north and thousands of marines aboard warships in the Black Sea, threatening Ukraine’s southern coast.
Russia’s political leaders deny Western accusations they are planning to invade, but say they could take unspecified ‘military-technical’ action unless a series of demands are met, including banning Kiev to join the NATO alliance.
Despite America’s warning, there is still a belief that there is a chance to stop the war – but that is quickly fading.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden agreed in a call on Monday that there is a crucial window for diplomacy.
But British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said an invasion could be imminent and Russian troops could reach Kiev “very, very quickly”.
“It’s … about the wider stability of Europe,” she said.
“And it’s about broader global stability, and the message we give to the aggressors and we have to get the message to Vladimir Putin that there can be no reward for aggression.”
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Truss echoed US politicians who have warned that a so-called “false flag” operation could be used by Moscow to ignite conflict.
“It’s still true that an invasion could be imminent, and it’s very likely,” she said.
It comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared a day of national unity on Wednesday.
In a decree signed on Monday, he ordered the broadcasting of the national anthem and the display of flags and flag ribbons throughout the country.
As some Russian troops returned to their bases, they deployed anti-mine vehicles capable of laying minefields the size of several football pitches.
And it is feared that they also moved devastating thermobaric flamethrowers capable of sending a ball of fire several kilometers long at the enemy.
This is called “sunburn”.
Mr Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have agreed to press ahead with negotiations, raising hopes that there may still be a way to avert war.
The West accused Russia of increased military build-up as more than 100,000 Russian troops massed near the border.
A Downing Street source said there was “some hope” diplomacy could work and Russia could back down.
Russia has withdrawn some of its forces from the Ukrainian border in what has been seen as a move that could reduce tensions.
Some Kremlin troops in military districts adjacent to their Eastern European neighbors are returning to their bases after completing drills, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: “Units of the southern and western military districts that have completed their missions have already started to board rail and automobile transport and will begin to resettle in their garrisons today.
“Separate units will march on foot as part of military convoys.”
He continued: “A number of combat training exercises, including drills, were conducted as planned.”
Britain would need a large-scale withdrawal of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine to believe Moscow has no invasion plan, Foreign Secretary Ms Truss has said.
President Putin has consistently denied he was planning an invasion and blamed the West for peddling a false narrative, despite his country’s military maneuvers reflecting preparations for an attack.