Russia is preparing to create a pretext for a broader invasion of Ukraine and has already prepositioned operatives to conduct a “false flag operation”, officials in Washington have warned, echoing statements from Kyiv.
Russian special services are preparing “provocations” against Russian servicemen located in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transnistria in order to accuse Kyiv, Ukrainian military intelligence said on Friday.
US officials have expressed similar sentiments. “Russian influence actors are already starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention and sow divisions in Ukraine,” a US official told the Reuters news agency on Friday.
Moscow has already dispatched operatives trained in urban warfare who could use explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces in eastern Ukraine – blaming the acts on Kyiv – if Russian President Vladimir Putin decides he wants to move forward with an invasion, a US official told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. Moscow has dismissed those statements as “unfounded”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.