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NATO Commander Suggests Russia Poised to Invade Ukraine

berean/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO's top commander, has delivered a sobering assessment of Russian military might, suggesting that its forces could be poised to launch an incursion into eastern Ukraine at literally a moment's notice.

Speaking to The New York Times, Breedlove said that the tens of thousands of troops near the border with Ukraine could prepare to invade within 12 hours and accomplish their mission in as few as three-to-five days.

Besides eastern Ukraine, the general said other targets might include Odessa and the Russian enclave Transnistria in Moldova.

All this might be done in order to establish a land link to Crimea, the former Ukraine region annexed by the Russian Federation last month.

Breedlove also expressed skepticism about the battalion pullback of 400-500 soldiers ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week, saying that NATO could not confirm whether a movement was actually taking place.

Although there is no concrete evidence to show that Russian forces will invade despite their denials, Breedlove said the presence of an estimated 40,000 troops at the very least is a coercive force meant to intimidate the new Ukrainian government ahead of its national elections scheduled for May.

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