Russia is planning actions that it can use to legitimize an invasion of Ukraine, US officials say. Russian authorities reject the claim.
It should be about planning a so-called “false flag” operation, writes CNN, Reuters and The Guardian. That is, an operation that is performed with the intention of hiding who is behind it. Thus, the responsibility can be transferred to another party. In this case: Ukraine.
The aim is to create a valid basis for invading eastern Ukraine, traditionally called “casus belli”. At least that’s what US intelligence claims. They fear a Russian invasion as early as February, according to CNN.
– The Russian military plans to start these activities a few weeks before a military invasion, which may come before mid-February. We saw the same thing in 2014 in connection with Crimea, says a US official to the channel.
– Has practiced urban warfare
Both the Pentagon’s spokesman John Kirby and Jen Psaki, a White House spokesman, confirm that the US authorities are of this opinion, writes The Guardian.
– We have information about Russia has already deployed a group that can carry out a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine. They have practiced urban warfare and using explosives to carry out sabotage operations against Russia’s own proxy forces, Psaki said.
Russia has, according to The Guardian, placed more than 100,000 soldiers near Ukraine’s borders. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said earlier Friday that Russian special services were preparing provocations against Russian forces. The blame for these provocations is to be placed on Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Defense.
Saboteurs and hacker attacks
The Guardian quotes official spokesmen from both the US and Ukrainian authorities. They say Russia is planning a series of actions.
Among other things, a violent attack on a Russian embassy, which they will accuse Ukrainian extremists of being behind. Several websites belonging to various ministries of the Ukrainian government were subjected to a hacker attack on Friday. The hackers are said to have claimed that sensitive information about Ukrainian citizens had been leaked, writes The Guardian.
Most websites have now been restored, Andriy Yermak tells the newspaper. He is the head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine.
Russian influencers have already begun fabricating Ukrainian provocations on state and social media, says a US source.
Stoltenberg condemns the attack
Both the EU and NATO have condemned the hacker attacks on the Ukrainian government. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says in a statement that NATO has long helped Ukraine with cyber security. He
“NATO’s strong political support for Ukraine will continue,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
Russia: Unfounded allegations
Russian authorities reject the allegations as unfounded. This is stated by Dmitry Peskov, who is a spokesman for the Russian government apparatus. The Russian news agency TASS reports this.
Meetings have been held between the United States, NATO and Russia in the past week, but they have not borne fruit.
Russia has not been willing to reduce its military presence along Ukraine’s border. The United States and NATO, for their part, have rejected Russian demands to guarantee that Ukraine will never join the defense alliance.