Russian tanks on the Ukrainian border
Russian tanks on the Ukrainian borderReuters

Russian military officers have already received orders to launch the invasion of Ukraine, according to intelligence reports obtained by the United States.

Russian commanders are now “doing everything that American commanders would do once they got the order to proceed,” said CBS News national security correspondent David Martin, who confirmed the veracity of the intelligence reports.

The Biden administration has yet to entirely despair of averting full-scale war, but hopes are not high.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s positioning of forces so close to the Ukrainian border indicated an impending incursion.

“He’s followed the script almost to the letter,” Blinken said. “We believe President Putin has made the decision, but until the tanks are actually rolling, and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from carrying this forward,” he added.

Meanwhile, Russian troops are set to remain in Belarus after conducting joint military exercises there with Belarus troops. Although the Belarus government initially claimed that Russian troops would shortly return to Russia, on Sunday, the Belarus Defense Minister said that due to the situation in eastern Ukraine, the “inspection of reaction forces” would continue.

Also on Sunday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the U.S. was running a “full-court press” to attempt to change Putin’s mind via negotiation. Asked why pre-emptive sanctions were not being imposed on Russia, Kirby replied that such a move would likely backfire. “If you punish somebody for something they haven’t done yet, then they might as well just go ahead and do it,” he said.