Russia positioned “operatives to conduct what we call a ‘false flag operation, an operation designed to look like an attack on them or their people, or Russian speaking people in Ukraine, as an excuse to go in,” says Pentagon spokesman.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US has information that Russia is planning to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine by using operatives to carry out a false flag event, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.
“As part of its plans, Russia’s laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for invasion,” Psaki told a press briefing. “We have information that indicates Russia has already pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine. The operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces.”
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The activities such as sabotage and information operations are similar to those seen in 2014, prior to Crimea being incorporated into Russia, Psaki said. The Russian military plans to launch these activities several weeks before an invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February, Psaki claimed.
US information also indicates that Russian influence actors are starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention, sow divisions in Ukraine, and blame the West for escalating tensions, Psaki said.
She was echoed by DoD spokesperson John Kirby.
“We have information that they [Russia] pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct what we call a ‘false flag operation, an operation designed to look like an attack on them or their people, or Russian speaking people in Ukraine, again, as an excuse to go in,” Kirby said during a press briefing. “We already have indications that Russian influence actors are already starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in both state and social media, to try to justify in advance some sort of pretext for the incursion.”
As per Kirby’s words, Pentagon is not ready to announce how the United States will communicate what it is seeing on the ground in Ukraine but thought it was important to demonstrate to Russia it is aware of what if going on there.
Earlier in the day, CNN reported citing an anonymous US official that the US government has evidence that Russia has placed a group of operatives trained in urban warfare and sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces in eastern Ukraine to conduct a false-flag event that will create a pretext for an invasion.
Tensions around Ukraine intensified over the past several weeks amid an alleged buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border and claims of preparations for an invasion. Russia has repeatedly denied the accusations, pointing out that it reserves the right to move forces within its sovereign territory. Russia has also pointed to NATO’s military activity near the Russian borders and said it deems to be a threat to its national security.