According to a senior U.S. defense official, Russia’s attack on Ukraine may be the start of a “large-scale invasion” that aims at destroying Kyiv as the capital. The official described three “main assault axes,” which included what appears to be a strong push towards the capital.
“It is our assessment that they have every intention to basically decapitate government,” the official stated, indicating that “they are making a move against Kyiv.”
According to the official, the invasion is currently in its “initial stage” and will progress through multiple phases. It is difficult to predict what the future phases will look like. However, it has been hard to predict what has already happened.
According to the official, the war was expected to be very bloody and costly. It will also have a significant impact on European security, possibly for a long time.
The U.S. observed the Ukrainians fighting back in Kharkiv and around Kyiv’s airport. Although the Ukrainian military claims they have destroyed a number of Russian aircraft, an official couldn’t confirm.
Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened that any country intervening in the conflict will be subject to repercussions “never before seen in history.” This led to speculation about the threat of nuclear war. According to the senior defense official, while the U.S. doesn’t know everything about Russia’s plans in detail, they don’t consider it a greater threat.
The U.S. will send military support to the region but not enter Ukraine. F-35 aircraft will be sent to Estonia, Romania, and Lithuania. They are expected to arrive Thursday. However, the Biden administration repeatedly insists that U.S. troops won’t be fighting in Ukraine.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that NATO has defense forces ready to defend NATO members should they be required, but no mention of entering Ukraine.