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

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration accused Moscow on Friday of sending saboteurs into jap Ukraine to stage an incident that might present President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia with a pretext for ordering an invasion of elements or all the nation.

The White Home didn’t launch particulars of the proof it had collected to again up its cost, although one official mentioned it was a mixture of intercepted communications and observations of the actions of individuals. In an electronic mail, a U.S. official wrote that “Russia is laying the groundwork to have the choice of fabricating a pretext for invasion, together with by means of sabotage actions and data operations, by accusing Ukraine of getting ready an imminent assault in opposition to Russian forces in jap Ukraine.”

The official, who described the intelligence on the situation of anonymity, added that within the evaluation of U.S. intelligence officers, “the Russian navy plans to start these actions a number of weeks earlier than a navy invasion, which may start between mid-January and mid-February. We noticed this playbook in 2014 with Crimea.” Russia annexed Ukraine that yr.

The discharge was a part of a technique to attempt to forestall the assaults by exposing them upfront. However with out releasing the underlying intelligence — a few of which has been offered to allies — the USA opens itself as much as Russian costs that it’s fabricating proof. In previous years, Russia steadily recalled the deeply flawed intelligence case the USA constructed for invading Iraq, as a part of an effort to discredit the C.I.A. and different American intelligence companies as political operatives.

The official mentioned that the USA had “info that signifies Russia has already pre-positioned a gaggle of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in jap Ukraine,” the place Russian-backed forces have been preventing a grinding battle of attrition with the Ukrainian authorities. The operatives “are skilled in city warfare and in utilizing explosives to hold out acts of sabotage in opposition to Russia’s personal proxy forces.”

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 embody, the official mentioned, “emphasizing narratives concerning the deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and the elevated militancy of Ukrainian leaders.”

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