US Intel sees greater chance of Russia entering Eastern Ukraine
In news of the day, Jennifer Lopez dropped an "F-bomb" on live TV last night during "American Idol" broadcast. "Psyche" broadcast its final episode. Northwestern University football players won the right to form a union.
Oh - and Russia is likely to invade Eastern Ukraine.
A new classified intelligence assessment concludes it is more likely than previously thought that Russian forces will enter eastern Ukraine, CNN has learned.
Two administration officials described the assessment but declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.
The officials emphasized that nothing is certain, but there have been several worrying signs in the past three to four days.
“This has shifted our thinking that the likelihood of a further Russian incursion is more probable than it was previously thought to be,” one official said.
The buildup is seen to be reminiscent of Moscow’s military moves before it went into Chechnya and Georgia in both numbers of units and their capabilities.
U.S. military and intelligence officials have briefed Congress on the assessment.
As a result, Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee late Wednesday sent a classified letter to the White House expressing concern about unfolding developments.
An unclassified version obtained by CNN said committee members feel “urgency and alarm, based on new information in the committee’s possession.”
The committee said there was “deep apprehension that Moscow may invade eastern and southern Ukraine, pressing west to Transdniestria and also seek land grabs in the Baltics.”
Transdniestria is a separatist region of Moldova.
Committee members noted that Gen. Philip Breedlove, head of the U.S. European Command and NATO military chief, noted the Russians had sufficient forces to make moves into those areas.
American officials believe the more than 30,000 Russian forces on the border with Ukraine, combined with additional Russian forces placed on alert and mobilized to move, give Russian President Vladimir Putin the ability to rapidly move into Ukraine without the United States being able to predict it when it happens.
The Crimea annexation is off the front pages and is barely mentioned anymore on the cable nets. I'm sure Putin knows the attention span of the average westerner is measured in minutes rather than days so a thrust into Ukraine might be expected at any time, catching us by "surprise" and would be a fait accompli before we even got organized enough to issue a worthless statement on the aggression.
We are assured that sanctions against Russia are "working" and Moscow is feeling the pinch. That may be. But Putin's military deployments give him a range of options - none of which we are capable of countering even if we had a mind to. Sanctions or no, it is Vladimor Putin who will decide if there is to be war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, "Dancing with the Stars" looks like it's going to be good this year.