U.S. Charges Russia Sent Saboteurs Into Ukraine to Create Pretext for Invasion

“This can be a web page out of the Russian playbook,” one of many officers stated. “We’re very aware that Russia will attempt to invent some pretext to hold out a coup try.”

The Kremlin pushed again in opposition to the intelligence evaluation. “Thus far, all these statements have been unfounded and haven’t been confirmed by something,” Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, informed TASS, a state-run information company.

The intelligence discovering was reported earlier by CNN.

One senior administration official stated there was concern that saboteurs or provocateurs may stage an incident in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, prompting a doable pretext for a coup. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine declared a number of months in the past that he believed a coup try was underway, but it surely by no means materialized.

Earlier on Friday, Ukraine’s navy intelligence service introduced that it had intercepted details about a plot by Russian spies to start out a sabotage operation from disputed territory in Moldova, south of Ukraine, the place Russia maintains a big contingent of troops. The plan, in accordance with the assertion, was to assault Russian troops stationed at a weapons depot close to the border with Ukraine and blame it on Ukrainian forces.

A senior Ukrainian navy official, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate intelligence issues, stated that whereas not all particulars of the plot had been recognized, any provocation in that area might be used to justify an assault on Ukraine’s southern flank, probably from Russian naval assets within the Black Sea.

The U.S. accusation additionally embraced disinformation operations, charging that within the media “Russian affect actors are already beginning to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention and sow divisions in Ukraine.” These embrace, the official stated, “emphasizing narratives concerning the deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and the elevated militancy of Ukrainian leaders.”

In his briefing, Mr. Kirby stated that when “we discuss Russian operatives, it may characterize a mix of people contained in the Russian authorities, whether or not it’s from their intelligence communities, their safety providers and even their navy.”

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