US spy planes caught flying over Ukraine on flight tracker as Russia prepares for invasion
EAGLE-EYED internet sleuths have spotted US military planes flying over Ukraine on online flight trackers.
Screenshots shared on social media on Tuesday show flight data from spy planes, drones and attack helicopters invading the area.
Tensions between Russia and the West remain at an all-time high as the Kremlin appears to be preparing for a deadly invasion of Ukraine.
More than 100,000 troops deployed at the country’s border are “boxed in and charged” to storm it, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.
Fascination with the standoff has spread to Reddit, where users track the flight paths of military aircraft in the region.
They use platforms such as flightradar24, a website that plots the real-time location of flights on a map using publicly available data.
The platform displays origins and destinations, flight numbers, aircraft types, positions, altitudes, speeds and more.
Flight tracker screenshots shared by Redditors reveal that a remotely piloted surveillance drone has been flying over Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders since Tuesday morning.
Flying at an altitude of 56,000 feet, the Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk spy plane is registered with the US Air Force.
It can provide real-time imagery to personnel, surveying up to 40,000 square miles of terrain per day, an area the size of South Korea.
Another reconnaissance aircraft, a Boeing RC-135M, took off from Cyprus early Wednesday, according to flight trackers.
The piloted craft, which is also registered in the United States, carried out a number of tight maneuvers over the Black Sea around Crimea, a peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 that borders Ukraine.
Planes designed for offensive actions have also been spotted in the region in recent days.
On Monday, two B52 bombers took off from Portugal on a flight path that apparently took them towards the Mediterranean Sea.
US Blackhawks helicopters also reportedly appeared on trackers as they crossed the Ukrainian border on Tuesday evening.
It comes as US intelligence fears a full-scale Russian invasion could be launched within hours, sparking a conflict the scale of which has not been seen since World War II.
However, as last-minute, high-level diplomatic talks continue in a frantic attempt to avert a devastating war that could kill millions, the region remains in a fragile state of calm for now.
Russia insisted it was sending more troops and weapons back to bases and released a video showing tanks and other vehicles leaving the Crimean peninsula.
The move is being treated with skepticism, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg saying that “on the contrary” more troops are being built up.
Speaking at a NATO meeting in Brussels, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace urged great caution, warning Russia was still ready to invade and said it should be judged on its actions .
“Russia has the size of forces now mustered and ready, locked down and loaded to some degree, ready to go if they wish since yesterday, and that turned out to be absolutely correct,” he said. .
British and American ghosts say the Kremlin is likely to strike without warning and the invasion could begin as early as Wednesday.
But an assessment by Western intelligence found: “We would expect several sequential attacks, not a single strike.”
It could mean a sudden push against Kyiv, using precision strikes.
Other key towns would be surrounded by Putin’s tanks and troops while being pounded by planes and helicopter gunships.
The grave assessment came when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared a day of unity on Wednesday and urged his people to stand up and sing the national anthem at 10 a.m.
He said, “We don’t know how to give up and we won’t learn how to. We believe in our own strength and will continue to build the future together. We are united by love for Ukraine.
On Monday, Boris Johnson held crisis talks with US President Joe Biden after he said it was “pretty clear” that Russia will invade within days.
He warned that an invasion would lead to a “protracted crisis with considerable damage for Russia and the world”.
But a Downing Street spokesman insisted there “remained a crucial window for diplomacy and for Russia to back down from its threats to Ukraine”.
No10 said Boris and Biden had agreed to keep in touch as the situation “evolves”.
Reports have warned that 60% of Russian ground forces are within striking range.
In other news, a British woman has told of her horror after scammers used photos of a ‘silver fox’ politician to cheat her out of £80,000.
Norfolk County Council is suing Apple over what it says is misleading iPhone sales information.
The makers of a spooky new horror game say the title is so disturbing they’ve been forced to censor it on PlayStation.
And, Apple announced updates to AirTags following claims that the coin-sized tracking devices are being used to stalk people.
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