They may not know when, but the US is becoming more convinced Russia will invade Ukraine

Credit: AP

Every evening, those covering the White House get a briefing note of the US president’s plans for the next day. Because being president doesn’t allow for much spontaneity, they tend to be pretty accurate.

But things have been changing a lot the last few days mainly due to the situation on Ukraine’s borders.

On Thursday night, when focus was expected to be on the Supreme Court nomination, the president was in the Situation Room hearing more about the build-up of Russian troops.

On Friday, the diary noted a morning briefing and an afternoon trip to Camp David.

In fact, there was a video call with the leaders of seven other nations, NATO and the EU.

Not long after that hour long discussion of the latest intelligence, the tone changed in nation after nation.

Whatever was discussed was enough to convince those hearing the detail that an attack was imminent, that the assault would likely come from the air, then the ground, and may see Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, be one of the battle grounds.

Within minutes, the UK was ordering citizens to leave while they still could, so too were the Americans.

The EU, which has been more reticent, followed shortly after.

The Pentagon confirmed the deployment of 3,000 extra troops to Poland and the National Security Advisor travelled to the White House to brief the press corp.

His tone was markedly different from that struck over previous weeks.

The assessment now was that an invasion is almost certainly inevitable. Any thought that Russian President Vladimir Putin may wait for the end of the Olympics, to keep the Chinese happy, was dispelled.

Reiterating the need for Americans to leave Ukraine, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s words came with a warning - no US troops would go in to help those caught in a war they could have avoided.

They say they can’t pinpoint the day of an attack nor the hour but it’s very clear now they are as sure as they can be that it is going to happen.

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