Earlier this afternoon, CBS News reported that according to an unnamed US official, Russian self-propelled artillery and mobile rocket launchers have been moved into firing positions near the Ukrainian border. Other Russian mechanized and motorized units have departed from their assembly areas and moved closer to the border, presumably to forward assembly areas where units stage and prepare for future operations. If true, these movements provide a concrete indication that hostilities are imminent. US intelligence has predicted a Russian attack will come on 16 February. Given recent events such as the upcoming visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Moscow on Tuesday, the timetable might’ve been revised.
With Wednesday anticipated to be the day a potential Russian attack might fall, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy declared 16 February will be a national ‘Day of Unity.’ The move is an attempt to rally Ukrainians. The declaration’s aim is to “to strengthen the consolidation of Ukrainian society, strengthen its resilience in the face of growing hybrid threats, information and propaganda, moral and psychological pressure on the public consciousness.” Blue and yellow national flags will be raised above government buildings and the Ukrainian national anthem will be played on televisions nationwide at 10 AM. Zelenskiy’s move is being widely viewed as an official confirmation that an attack is expected on Wednesday, despite the Ukrainian leader’s skepticism about the day’s significance. Government officials were quick to point out the president was being ‘ironic’ when he mentioned being informed of a Russian attack planned for 16 February.