The USA launched intelligence findings the day after Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan mentioned that Russia, which has amassed tens of 1000’s of troops on the Ukrainian border, was “laying the groundwork to have the choice of fabricating a pretext for an invasion.”
White Home Press Secretary Jen Psaki mentioned U.S. intelligence believed Russia might start the operations “a number of weeks” earlier than a army invasion, which might begin between mid-January and mid-February.
“We now have data that signifies Russia has already prepositioned a gaggle of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in japanese Ukraine,” Psaki informed reporters.
“The operatives are skilled in city warfare and in utilizing explosives to hold out acts of sabotage in opposition to Russia’s personal proxy forces.”
Russia shortly denied the account, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling the U.S. statements “unfounded.”
However Pentagon spokesman John Kirby mentioned the intelligence was “very credible” and that the classification had been downgraded to permit its launch to the general public.
He mentioned that Russian operatives might embrace intelligence brokers, army parts and different safety companies.
“They typically hybridize their personnel to such a level that the strains will not be essentially actually clear,” Kirby informed reporters.
Psaki mentioned the USA was “involved” by the assault, however stopped wanting blaming Russia, saying there was not but a discovering on who was accountable.
Psaki mentioned Russia, alongside its purported false-flag preparations, had ramped up a disinformation marketing campaign on social media, together with posts that accuse Ukraine of rights violations and the West of upsetting tensions.
“Our data additionally signifies that Russian affect actors are already beginning to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention and sow divisions in Ukraine,” she mentioned.
The USA has repeatedly accused Russia of spreading conspiracies and disinformation on social media.
Psaki mentioned Russian-language justifications for Moscow’s narratives on Ukraine on social media have jumped by 200% in December to almost 3,500 posts per day.
Sullivan, in his briefing to reporters, mentioned Russia had used comparable ways in 2014 when it seized Crimea and backed an ongoing insurgency in japanese Ukraine.
“We noticed this playbook in 2014. They’re making ready this playbook once more,” Sullivan mentioned.
The USA launched the findings on the alleged false-flag plans after every week of talks with Russia to defuse tensions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied plans to invade Ukraine however has demanded safety ensures from the West, together with guarantees to not increase NATO eastward.
Sullivan mentioned Thursday that the USA most popular diplomacy however was ready to “defend” allies and to impose main financial prices on Russia if it invades.
Russia stepped up its strain on Ukraine in 2014 after an rebellion toppled a authorities that had rejected strain to maneuver the nation nearer to the West.
Greater than 13,000 folks have since died within the pro-Russian insurgency in japanese Ukraine.