WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government has determined that Russia is creating a pretext for its forces to advance in the invasion of Ukraine, and that Moscow has already stationed its agents to conduct a “false flag operation” in eastern Ukraine. , an American official assured on Friday.
Washington believes Russia is also waging a disinformation campaign via social media to portray Ukraine as an aggressor poised to attack Russian forces in the country’s east, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. because he was not authorized to release intelligence information.
US intelligence services have determined that Russia has already dispatched agents trained in urban warfare, who would use explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against their own allied forces—which they would blame on Ukraine—if Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade. added the official.
The source did not clarify how the spy agencies reached these conclusions or to what extent they believe they are reliable.
Ukraine is also monitoring the alleged use of disinformation by Russia. Ukrainian media, meanwhile, reported that authorities believe Russian special services are planning a possible “false flag” incident that would appear as a provocation.
A series of talks between Russia, the United States and Western allies this week in Europe made little headway in trying to stem the escalation of the crisis.
White House security adviser Jake Sullivan said Thursday that US intelligence agencies have not determined that the Russians, who have amassed some 100,000 troops on the border, have resolved to take military action in Ukraine.
However, Sullivan said that Russia is laying the groundwork to invade under false pretenses, if Putin decides to go that route. He said they have been planning “sabotage activities and information operations” that accuse Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack on Russian forces in the east of the country.
He said it is similar to what the Kremlin did before Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that had been under Ukrainian jurisdiction since 1954.