According to US intelligence, Russia is deploying agents into Ukraine to prepare for an invasion.
According to the White House, US intelligence agencies have assessed that Russia is attempting to create a pretext for its forces to invade Ukraine.
According to the intelligence assessments, Moscow has already prepositioned personnel to launch “a false-flag operation” in eastern Ukraine, according to Biden administration press secretary Jen Psaki.
She also said that Russia is setting the groundwork with a social media disinformation campaign portraying Ukraine as an aggressor planning an imminent attack on Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Her remarks came as Pentagon authorities claimed that Russia has dispatched undercover operatives into Ukraine to prepare for an invasion similar to the one that preceded Moscow’s acquisition of Crimea in 2014.
Russia is “working diligently to build the justification for a potential invasion — a move on Ukraine,” according to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby.
According to him, the plot is likely to include false flag operations in which undercover Russian operatives carry out assaults in Ukraine against Russian-speaking persons.
The idea would be to make the attacks appear to be carried out by Ukrainian forces in order to spur Russian military troops into Ukraine to defend the Russian-speaking minority.
Mr. Kirby stated, “They’ve already started creating Ukrainian provocations in both official and social media to try to provide some sort of pretext for an intervention in advance.”
The allegations of possible false flag operations came after a large-scale hack on many Ukrainian government websites on Friday. Although US intelligence has previously attributed such acts on Moscow, it was not immediately obvious who carried out the cyberattack.
Russian officials have refuted claims that they are preparing for an invasion. The allegation is false, according to a Kremlin spokeswoman who talked to Agence France-Presse on Friday.
Mr. Kirby believes that the operators currently in Ukraine are a combination of military personnel, intelligence officers, and possibly mercenary groups, such as the paramilitary Wagner Group, which has ties to the Russian government.
“We’ve seen similar behavior from Russia before,” a Pentagon spokesman said. “If there isn’t a real crisis to meet their requirements, they will invent one.” So that’s something we’re keeping an eye on.”
The Pentagon has yet to establish whether the cyberattack on Ukrainian government organizations on Friday was linked to a future Russian invasion. Mr. Kirby stated, “It’s too early to determine if it’s part and piece of a ‘false flag’ operation.” “Right now, we’re not at the stage of attribution.”
Around 200 US Army soldiers from the Florida National Guard are in Ukraine on a “advise and assist” mission with Ukraine’s military. In the case of a Russian invasion, Mr. Kirby would not say whether they would be evacuated.
He stated, “Force protection is essential in our minds.” “We will make all necessary and proper decisions to ensure the safety of our people.”
While the Biden administration has ruled out using military force against Russia in the case of an invasion, US officials have stated that if Moscow invades, the consequences will be severe.
Mr. Kirby, speaking at the Pentagon, said it is not too late for Moscow to pull back from the brink. He remarked, “We don’t believe Mr. Putin has taken a final choice yet.” “We still feel there is time and room for diplomacy as long as that is the case.”