Russia’s plan to quickly blitz and seize the Ukraine capital has taken US politicians by surprise. US Senator Tom Cotton said a move into Kiev would be part of the first wave of attacks in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This comes as a German newspaper reported that the US Secret Service, CIA and the Pentagon believe Vladimir Putin plans to launch an “aerial bombardment” of Kiev.
Such a move would risk a high civilian death toll in the densely packed urban centre of the country.
Speaking to Fox News about the reports, Mr Cotton said: “Southeastern Ukraine is very exposed.
“But the capital city Kiev, in central Ukraine, is exposed to those military exercises in Belarus.
“The sad truth is that Russian troops have encircled Ukraine and they are exposed on every front.”
Senator Cotton continued: “The late troop movements into Belarus means that Putin has decided he wants to get into Kiev sooner rather than later.
“That will be the first wave of attack into Ukraine. The military drills in Belarus are just a cover for a military invasion.
“The fact those drills are starting so soon tells us that we are down to a matter of days, not weeks, for an invasion.”
On Friday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned that Russia could invade Ukraine “at any time”.
On Friday, the White House claimed that an invasion may start with an intense aerial bombing which would make departures difficult.
Moscow has repeatedly denied any plans to invade Ukraine despite massing more than 100,000 troops near the border.
Both US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron are set to speak to President Putin by phone later today in a last-minute bid to avoid a full-scale war.
Earlier today, Der Spiegel reported that US officials had received intelligence of an “exceptionally detailed” invasion plan, scheduled for Wednesday.
The plans even contain specific routes that Russian military units will take through the country.