The sources said the US’ initial pre-invasion assessment – which predicted the Ukrainian capital would be overrun within one to four days of a Russian attack – remains the current expectation.
Russian forces have moved within 20 miles of Kyiv, senior administration officials told lawmakers Thursday night on Capitol Hill.
Officials believe Russia faced stronger resistance from Ukrainian forces than it had anticipated, the sources said. But officials at that Capitol Hill briefing declined to say whether they thought Kyiv would fall.
A senior US defense official said Thursday that Russia was “acting on Kyiv”, CNN previously reported.
Western intelligence officials believe Russia’s plan is to overthrow the government in Kiev and install a pro-Russian proxy government, but they do not yet know whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will seek to occupy and hold Ukrainian territory thereafter, one of the sources familiar with the intelligence told CNN.
Ukrainian officials have vowed to resist any occupation.
Representative Ruben Gallego, a House Armed Services Committee Democrat, told CNN on Friday that if Russia were to capture Kiev, the United States would have to arm resistance fighters in the country.
“It certainly impacts our response as to who we actually arm. At this point we have to realize that the Ukrainian military as we know it can be compromised and then, I think, we have to move on to actually supporting the partisans and resistance fighters who are ready to fight against Russia,” Gallego said.
This story is broken and will be updated.