Russia’s new resource in the escalation of tension with the West includes fictitious explosions, actors playing the victims and fake military equipment, according to US intelligence. An official from the Joe Biden Administration has transferred details to the media on Thursday about an alleged plan by Moscow to concoct a pretext of false aggression that would justify an invasion of Ukraine. Washington already denounced in mid-January the existence of a plan with similar characteristics, about which it did not give more details.
According to reports from the intelligence service, the Russian authorities were planning to film and broadcast a fake video showing the consequences of an attack by the Ukrainian army on Russian soil or against the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine. Moscow intended to base its accusations against Kiev on that footage. That would serve as a pretext, according to the aforementioned official, who has spoken on condition of anonymity, for an intervention by Russian troops or for the separatist leaders of the Donbas region to claim it.
US intelligence, which has not offered evidence of these diversionary maneuvers nor has it shared information on how that conclusion has been reached, trusts that airing these plans will dissuade President Vladimir Putin from continuing with the denounced strategy. They do draw a link between these revelations and “recent disinformation campaigns” about bogus “genocidal campaigns” on Ukrainian soil. They also cite the latest steps taken by the Russian parliament to recognize sympathetic governments in the region. “To provide arguments for the independence [de esas zonas]Russian politicians promote legislation on the false basis that Ukraine is preparing to take back these territories by force and that Kiev systematically denies its basic rights to citizens”.
According to US intelligence, the Russian authorities intended the video to have a “very elaborate” appearance. They planned to use real corpses, fake explosions and intersperse images of destroyed places. Officials have also said the footage would include fake, Ukrainian or NATO military equipment, Turkish-made Bayraktar drones and Russian-speaking actors to play the victims. No details have been offered of who, within the Administration, is behind this project, but it has been stated that Russian intelligence was “intimately involved.” A British government official quoted by The New York Times gives credit to the accusations of the United States after carrying out its own analysis of the data, “credible and extremely worrying”.
For Jon Finer, Deputy National Security Advisor, this evidence “shows the level of cynicism that one of the parties to this conflict is capable of.” “We’re definitely not saying this was what they intended to do. We are saying that they were considering that option, and that it would not be the first time that they have used a pretext of this type to justify military action,” Finer clarified in statements to MSNBC on Thursday.
The announcement adds tension to the crisis triggered by the concentration of Russian troops along the borders with Ukraine and fuels US suspicions that the Kremlin may launch a new military aggression against the former Soviet republic “shortly”.
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