According to a US official, the US claims it has information indicating that Russia has “prepared a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine, Preparing the ground for a possible pretext for the attack.
Why this matters: Diplomatic talks between the US, its European allies and Russia failed to produce a breakthrough this week, raising fears that Moscow would invade Ukraine and wage a devastating new war.
What are they saying: “The United States is concerned that the Russian government is preparing an invasion of Ukraine that could result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes if diplomacy fails to meet its objectives,” the official said.
- “As part of its plans, Russia prepares grounds for having the option of making an excuse for an invasion through sabotage activities and information operations, accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.” Has been doing.”
- “The Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military offensive, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February. We saw this playbook with Crimea in 2014.”
big picture: Russian diplomats insisted during talks in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna this week that they had no plans to strike, but warned repeatedly that they could be dealt with if the US and NATO refused to accede to their security demands. A very dangerous situation will arise.
- Ukrainian military intelligence released similar warning About a possible “false flag” operation on Friday. Ukraine has also warned that an increase in cyber activity by Russian actors will likely precede an invasion.
- The websites of Ukraine’s foreign ministry and other government agencies were knocked offline on Friday by a “massive cyberattack”. The culprits are yet to be identified.
- The US official said “Russian influence actors” have begun to fabricate Ukrainian provocations on social media, including “emphasizing narratives about the deteriorating human rights in Ukraine and the rising extremism of Ukrainian leaders.”
go in: US braces for Russian escalation as talks hit “dead end”