BOSTON (CBS) – There is real concern today that Russia may not stop with Crimea. That Vladamir Putin has bigger plans for Ukraine.
This as Putin mobilizes a major military presence along Ukraine’s eastern border. NATO’s top military commander describes it as “very, very sizable and very, very ready.”
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) is in Ukraine right now as part of a Congressional delegation, meeting with local leaders and learning more about the stand-off with Russia. I spoke with Lynch in his only Boston broadcast interview from Ukraine and he believes Ukraine could indeed be on the eve of war.
“Based on the numbers [of Russian troops] we’ve seen…I think the chances are more likely than not that Putin will order some type of advance into eastern Ukraine,” Rep. Lynch told me from Kiev.
The Congressman and his counterparts including delegation-leader Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) are pledging support to Ukraine but so far only humanitarian support.
To be clear no one is talking about American military involvement. Ukraine has not requested it and the U.S. is not offering.
But I can tell you what else we’re doing. We’re playing catch-up.
The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. spy agencies are rushing to expand satellite coverage and eavesdropping across Russia and to get more intelligence on the ground in Crimea. They hope that will give them a heads-up on whatever Putin decides to do. One administration official says we’re now in “crisis-response mode.”
Congressman Lynch and others in the delegation will return home from Ukraine late tonight with fresh memories from Kiev’s central square, where more than a hundred demonstrators died in clashes with the former Ukraine government.
“It felt a lot like Boylston Street after the Marathon bombings,” Lynch recalled.
“There were people there laying wreaths and flowers and obviously in various states of distress and trauma. But there was also a spirit of resistance and unity,” he said.
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