The US has picked up intelligence showing Russian military officials have been ordered to begin an invasion of Ukraine imminently.
The Background: Comments made by Biden late last week struck a notably different tone. “As of this moment, I’m convinced he’s made the decision. We have reason to believe that,” Biden said at the White House Friday. Asked how the U.S. knew, the president said only: “We have a significant intelligence capability.” The new tone came after weeks of various US security officials stating they couldn’t be sure Putin had made a decision.
The Details: Sunday, two sources familiar with the intelligence appeared to confirm that statement for NBC News. They said the intelligence revealed Putin’s orders directly to military leaders to begin the invasion.
The intelligence proved so alarming, Biden called a highly unusual weekend meeting of the National Security Council focused on Ukraine on Sunday afternoon. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who just returned from Europe, were seen entering the White House just before noon. A White House official confirmed that Vice President Harris, who is currently flying back from Germany, would attend the meeting virtually from Air Force Two.
This story is developing…