US intelligence says Russia has prepared a false-flag operation to invade Ukraine
A U.S. official told The Hill on Friday that intelligence findings point to Russia having prepared a false-flag operation to invade Ukraine.
The official said Moscow was laying the groundwork for fabricating a pretext for invasion by accusing Ukraine of preparing an “imminent attack” against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
“The Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February,” the official said. “We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea.”
The accusation from the U.S. comes after a week of diplomatic engagement between the U.S., its European allies and Russia, which ended on Thursday with no major breakthroughs. Moscow hasn’t directly committed to engaging in any future dialogue.
Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s border, sparking fears that Moscow may be planning to invade its neighbor in a manner similar to when it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
As part of the false-flag plans, Washington has information indicating that Moscow has prepositioned a group of operatives who are trained in urban warfare and using explosives to carry out “acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces,” the official said.
The United States’ information also indicates that Russian influence actors are starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations on in state and social media sites to justify a Russian intervention.
The influence actors are pushing narratives about human rights deteriorating in Ukraine, blaming the West for escalating tensions, and “promoting Russian patriotism to encourage domestic support for military action,” the statement said.
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