US Accuses Russia of Planning False Pretext For Ukraine Invasion: The United States has obtained intelligence and accused Russia of a plot to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian disinformation campaign plan is to use a faked video that would build on other disinformation efforts, according to senior American officials.
A Fake Attack, a Real Invasion
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the scheme, which the US exposed publicly to halt its implementation, included the production of a propaganda video that would show staged explosions depicting a fake attack by the Ukrainian military either against Russian territory or against Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine. Actors would portray corpses or grieving mourners.
“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.
Russia, the US officials said, was planning on accusing the Ukrainians of genocide against Russian-speaking people to generate enough outrage to justify a Russian attack or to get Russian proxies in the Donbas region to “invite” Russian troops into the region for protection.
It is another example of the US and NATO divulging some intelligence without offering proof of Russian intentions so that they undercut the Russian plot before it can come to fruition. Other than the accusation, however, the US has offered no proof as to not compromise sources and methods.
Russia’s Ukraine Plans
The Russians are well-known to use disinformation programs to sway public opinion. Such was the case in 2014 when Moscow annexed Crimea. There was a steady stream of disinformation aimed at Russian-speaking people and the nonsensical approach that Ukraine was conducting crimes against the people and were the aggressors in the conflict.
Recently, American intelligence has been outing Russia’s social media disinformation campaign against Ukraine that Moscow dispatched special operations forces trained in explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against its own proxy forces. Britain has released intelligence that it says shows Moscow plotting to install a pro-Russian puppet government in Ukraine.
“We’ve seen these kinds of activity by the Russians in the past, and we believe it’s important when we see it like this and when we can, to call it out,” Kirby said at the Pentagon.
The British confirmed the American intelligence through their own sources and methods and said that they had high confidence that Russia was planning to fake a pretext to blame Ukraine for an attack. The details of the intelligence, the official said, are “credible and extremely concerning.”
Russia’s Next Move
The timing of the release of this intelligence is tied to the reported rumor that the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament is considering legislation to recognize the separatist-controlled Donbas region of eastern Ukraine as an independent state.
If Moscow recognizes the Donbas, then the puppet leader can request military aid from President Putin and Moscow. Putin has said many times that Russian intervention in that case would be permissible by international law.
The legislation under consideration by the Duma would recognize what Moscow characterizes as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Russia also considered this after staging the insurgency in 2014 but shelved the idea.
Can Turkey Solve the Crisis?
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has offered to mediate the Ukrainian situation between Moscow, Ukraine, and the NATO allies as the tensions continue to rise.
“We are ready to fulfill our part to end the crisis between two friendly countries that Turkey neighbors across the Black Sea,” he said.
Turkey also has agreed to sell Ukraine, its long-range drones, which were used to great effect in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, which is a huge rebuke of President Putin who has been slowly building closer relations with the Turks.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for PatsFans.com and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.