White House officials warn that Russia has amassed enough troops at the Ukrainian border to conduct major military action in the country in the coming days.
Officials previously believed that Russia was more likely to wait until the Winter Olympic Games ended as a gesture of goodwill to its ally China, which is hosting the games. But according to CNN, Sec. of State Antony Blinken said Friday that he believes an invasion of Ukraine "could begin at any time," adding that the U.S. is seeing "very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border."
"We continue to see signs of Russian escalation," national security adviser Jake Sullivan said during the White House briefing Friday. "We are in the window where an invasion could happen."
Sullivan added Friday that any American still in Ukraine should immediately make plans to leave the country.
"This is what prudence demands. If you stay, you are assuming risk," he said.
Sullivan also denied a Friday report by PBS that said U.S. intelligence officials had determined that Putin has already communicated plans of an impending Ukrainian invasion to his military.
"(That report) does not accurately capture the U.S. government's view as of today," he said.
For weeks, the U.S. has sounded the alarm of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, as Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border.
Russia has denied that it plans to invade and has instead offered a series of steps that it believes could improve security in the region. Those requests include a guarantee that Ukraine would not be extended an invitation to join the NATO alliance and that the coalition removes troops from Eastern Europe. The U.S. and its allies believe such concessions are non-starters, leaving a stalemate that could end in war.
Earlier this month U.S. mobilized 3,000 troops to send them toward NATO's eastern flank. About 2,000 of those troops were sent over to Europe from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and the other 1,000 were moved east from Germany.