Russia is preparing pretext to invade Ukraine: US officials clash news

Russia is preparing Washington officials have warned that this is to create a pretext for a broader invasion of Ukraine, and that agents have been pre-positioned to conduct “false flag operations,” echoing the Kiev statement.

Russian special forces are preparing to attack Moldova’s separated Transnistria To charge Kiev, Ukrainian military intelligence said on Friday.

US officials expressed similar sentiments. “Russian influencers have begun to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in the state and on social media to justify Russian meddling and sow division in Ukraine,” a U.S. official told Reuters on Friday.

Moscow has dispatched operatives trained in urban warfare who can use explosives to wreak havoc on Russia’s proxy forces in eastern Ukraine — blaming Kiev for the actions — if Russian President Vladimir Putin A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that he decided to go ahead with the intrusion.

Soldiers inaugurated in DonetskMoscow has accused Ukraine of plotting to use force to regain control of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatists, a charge Kiev denies [Alexei Alexandrov/AP Photo]

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Moscow considered the remarks “groundless,” according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

Russia wants written security assurances

Russia has assembled around 100,000 soldiers on the Ukrainian border, Diplomatic talks Attempts to resolve the impasse have been unsuccessful.

Russia has demanded written assurances from the United States and NATO that the alliance will not expand eastward.Washington says such a request is unworkable, but says it is willing to work with Moscow on possible future deployments Ukrainian offensive missiles and limit U.S. and NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe.

A senior Kiev official warned on Friday that the current standoff raises questions about Ukraine’s “life and death”. Andriy Yermak, Head of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office, adding that most Ukrainians would defend the country.

Zelensky proposes meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin Yermak said on Friday that the growing security concerns were discussed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow was not ready to wait forever for a response from the United States and NATO. safety requirements And it wants a detailed written response to each of Russia’s proposals.

Lavrov said President Putin could make a decision once Moscow received a point-by-point response to its proposals and counter-proposals from the West.

information warfare

as Negotiation sputtering, Ukraine’s government website was hit by a massive cyber attack on Friday.

This National Cabinet website, the websites of seven ministries, the Ministry of Finance, the State Emergency Service and the State Service that store Ukraine’s e-passports and vaccination certificates are temporarily unavailable.

The sites included a message in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish, saying personal data of Ukrainians had been leaked into the public domain. The Ukrainian government denies this, saying no personal data was leaked.

“Fear and expect the worst. This is for your past, present and future,” the message read in part.

Washington and Kiev have not directly blamed Russia for the cyberattack.but they say Russia Involved in Cyber ​​Attacks Online misinformation campaigns from Moscow have intensified in the past.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Moscow’s current activities are in line with the Kremlin’s Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, has been on the Black Sea peninsula under Ukrainian jurisdiction since 1954.

Due to what she called “sabotage” and “information operations,” Psaki said Friday that a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine could begin between mid-January and mid-February.

This 2014 Crimea Crisis It comes as Ukraine increasingly seeks to strengthen ties with Europe and the West. During this period, Russian propaganda increased and ethnic Russians in Ukraine were oppressed in eastern Ukraine.

Interactive - NATO Expansion in Europe(Al Jazeera)

Moscow has long been accused of using false information As a strategy against adversaries combined with military operations and cyber attacks. In 2014, Russian state media tried to discredit the pro-Western protests in Kiev as “inspired by the United States in collaboration with fascist Ukrainian nationalists,” and to promote the history of Crimea and Moscow, according to a report by Stanford University’s Internet Observatory connect.

Those activities are now ramping up, Psaki said. “Russian officials and influential players are emphasizing narratives about the deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and the increased belligerence of Ukrainian leaders,” she said.Russian social media narrative They also accused the West of escalating tensions in Ukraine and highlighting humanitarian concerns, she added.

The U.S. tracked nearly 3,500 social media posts a day emphasizing these narratives in December, a 200 percent increase from the daily average in November, Psaki said.

As tensions escalate and threat of war looms, Moscow warns Washington it will not rule out send its military assets to Latin America If the US doesn’t stop military activities on Russia’s doorstep.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan dismissed claims of possible Russian deployments to Cuba and Venezuela, calling them “a rant in public comment.”