Kyiv, Ukraine, is seen on Thursday. (Pierre Crom / Getty Images)
By Jack Davis February 24, 2022 at 5:41pm
Ukraine’s capital is likely in its final days of freedom, according to multiple U.S. officials.
Newsweek reported that Kyiv might have less than four days until Russian forces capture the city, which was home to nearly 3 million people before the onslaught of war sent thousands fleeing for their lives.
The report was based on three U.S. officials who were not named.
The officials said they estimated that Kyiv could hold out for 96 hours, with the nation’s leadership likely to give in within a week.
“It’s our assessment that [Russian forces] have every intention of basically, decapitating the government and installing their own method of governance, which would explain these early moves towards Kyiv,” an unnamed U.S. official said in a Defense Department news release.
The official said Russia pounded Ukraine with more than 100 missiles and 75 bombers before troops moved in.
A former U.S. intelligence officer also said the end is only days away, according to Newsweek.
“After the air and artillery end and the ground war really starts, I think Kyiv falls in just a few days,” the former official said.
“The military may last slightly longer, but this isn’t going to last long.”
As the attack began unfolding, @AP photographers captured people fleeing Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.
SEE MORE: https://t.co/nW1zkOnfzP pic.twitter.com/Ka08ROXXWv
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 24, 2022
Bloomberg quoted an anonymous Western intelligence official as guessing that Kyiv could even fall within hours due to Russian air dominance.
What is less certain is what comes after Russia takes control of Ukraine, the former intelligence officer told Newsweek.
The official said that will be decided by President Joe Biden’s willingness to support warfare against the Russian conquerors.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine’s chief of staff, agreed that toppling the government is Russia’s goal.
“The Office of the President of Ukraine believes the Russian federation has two tactical goals — to seize territories and attack the legitimate political leadership of Ukraine in order to spread chaos and install a marionette government that would sign a peace deal on bilateral relations with Russia,” Podolyak said.
“The enemy attempts to destabilize [the] situation in large cities, in particular Kharkiv and Kyiv. The probability exists the Russian armed forces will seize the government quarters.”