US officials alleged Thursday that Russia has been preparing to “fabricate a pretext for an invasion” of Ukraine by creating “a very graphic propaganda video” that would depict a fake attack by Ukraine against Russia.
The US’ disclosure of the alleged plot is the latest in a series of revelations designed to blunt the impact of any pretext Russia may use to invade Ukraine, and comes after US officials warned that Moscow could use a false flag operation to justify such an invasion.
Russia has continued building up forces and military equipment along Ukraine’s borders, despite diplomatic efforts by the US and allies to de-escalate the situation. Speaking at a Pentagon briefing Thursday, press secretary John Kirby said that the US believes the Russian government “is planning to stage a fake attack by Ukrainian military or intelligence forces against Russian sovereign territory or against Russian-speaking people” in order to create false rationale for an invasion.
“As part of this fake attack, we believe that Russia would produce a very graphic propaganda video which would include corpses and actors that would be depicting mourners and images of destroyed locations, as well as military equipment at the hands of Ukraine or the West, even to the point where some of this equipment would be made to look like it was Western supplied
… to Ukraine equipment,” Kirby said. Russian Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov told CNN Thursday that Moscow is not planning any false flag operations to invade Ukraine. Price, the State Department spokesperson, declined to provide evidence of the US’ claim when repeatedly pressed during a press briefing Thursday.
He said the information he was sharing about the alleged plans was based on declassified US intelligence, which he said the US shares with the public “only when we’re confident in that information.”