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 House 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 e-mail, a U.S. official wrote that “Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.”
The official, who described the intelligence on the situation of anonymity, added that within the evaluation of U.S. intelligence officers, “the Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February. We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea.” Russia annexed Ukraine that 12 months.
The launch was a part of a technique to attempt to stop the assaults by exposing them upfront. But with out releasing the underlying intelligence — a few of which has been supplied to allies — the United States opens itself as much as Russian prices that it’s fabricating proof. In previous years, Russia regularly recalled the deeply flawed intelligence case the United States 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 United States had “information that indicates Russia has already pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine,” the place Russian-backed forces have been combating a grinding struggle of attrition with the Ukrainian authorities. The operatives “are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces.”
The U.S. accusation additionally embraced disinformation operations, charging that within the media “Russian influence actors are already starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention and sow divisions in Ukraine.” Those embrace, the official mentioned, “emphasizing narratives about the deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and the increased militancy of Ukrainian leaders.”