US officials have claimed that Russia may soon mount a “false flag operation” in eastern Ukraine to get Vladimir Putin to justify an invasion of the country’s western neighbor.
Vladimir Putin could be staging fake attacks on Russian troops to justify an invasion of Ukraine, US officials have claimed.
Moscow has already pre-positioned operatives to carry out “a false flag operation” in eastern Ukraine, according to the White House, and there are fears this could give Russian troops an excuse to invade.
Agents would be trained in urban warfare and could use explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces – blaming Ukraine – if Putin decides he wants to go ahead with an invasion.
A false flag operation is a disguised act with the intent to blame another party.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US intelligence community had not assessed that the Russians, who massed some 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, had definitely decided to adopt a military line of conduct.
Ministry of Defense of Russia/Newsflash)
But Mr Sullivan said Russia was preparing the ground to invade under false pretenses if Putin decided to go that route. He said the Russians were planning “sabotage activities and information operations” that accuse Ukraine of preparing for its own imminent attack on Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
A US official said on Friday that intelligence findings show Russia is also laying the groundwork for a social media disinformation campaign that portrays Ukraine as an aggressor plotting an imminent attack on U.S.-backed forces. Russia in eastern Ukraine.
“We fear that the Russian government is preparing for an invasion into Ukraine which could lead to widespread human rights violations and war crimes if diplomacy fails to achieve its goals,” the official said.
The Russian military “plans to start these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February”, the official said.
Russian Defense Ministry/east2west news)
The United States has warned that the threat of a Russian military invasion is high, as Moscow has vowed the dialogue has reached an impasse.
The Kremlin has insisted that the United States guarantee that the West will prevent neighboring Ukraine from joining NATO and roll back decades of alliance expansion in Europe.
The United States called the claims “non-starting”.
It comes after government websites were hit by a devastating cyberattack on Friday in which officials received a chilling threat to “be afraid and expect the worst”.
A spokesman for the White House National Security Council said it was not yet clear who was responsible for the cyberattack, but President Joe Biden had been briefed.
“We are in contact with the Ukrainians and have offered our support as Ukraine investigates the impact and the nature and recovers from the incidents. We have no attribution at this time,” the carrier said. word.
This follows months of Russian troop mustering near the Ukrainian border, with 126,000 assault troops now assembled near the frontline.
TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Ima)
A 250 mile long border of trenches, artillery and assault troops dug in on both sides – with Ukrainian forces defending.
They are supported by tanks, artillery, armored infantry fighting vehicles and up to 30 assault and landing ships and boats prepared for an amphibious attack.
The front line that crosses the disputed Ukrainian territory of Lugansk and Donestk is threatened by pro-Russian separatists reinforced by Russian regular and special forces.
Biden warned of serious economic consequences for Russia if Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine. Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine.
Sergei Savostyanov / TASS)
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned on Friday that Moscow would not wait for the Western response indefinitely, saying he expected the United States and NATO to provide a written response next week.
Lavrov described Moscow’s demands for binding guarantees that NATO will not embrace Ukraine or other former Soviet countries, or station its forces and weapons there, as essential for the progress of diplomatic efforts to defuse growing tensions around Ukraine.
He argued that NATO deployments and exercises near Russia’s borders pose a security problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
“We have lost patience,” Lavrov told a news conference. “The West has been driven by hubris and has escalated tensions in violation of its obligations and common sense.”