US official: Russia is working to create an excuse to invade Ukraine

The United States has determined that Russia is working to create an excuse for its potential invasion of Ukraine and to prepare an attack for which it will blame Ukrainian forces, an unnamed US official said today.

The administration of US President Joseph Biden believes that Russia is creating an excuse for the invasion by presenting Ukraine as an aggressor by preparing a disinformation campaign on social networks, which is preparing an attack on Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, the official said.

U.S. intelligence has determined that Russia has already sent operatives, trained for warfare in urban conditions, to the field, who could use explosives in acts of sabotage against Russian forces, for which Moscow would blame Ukraine, the official added.

He did not provide details on how the American intelligence community came to such a conclusion, nor how convinced it is of the accuracy of that assessment.

Another person familiar with the talks between Washington and Kiev on the crisis said that the White House did not inform Ukraine before it released intelligence about Russia’s actions.

Earlier today, Ukrainian media reported that the authorities of that country believe that the Russian special services are planning an incident that they would accuse Kiev of, and which could provoke an additional conflict.

New US intelligence was released after several talks this week between representatives of Russia and the United States and NATO in Europe, in which little progress has been made in halting the escalation of the crisis.

Jake Sullivan, the adviser to the President of the USA for national security, said yesterday that the American intelligence community did not make an assessment that the Russians had definitely decided to take military action in Ukraine.

Sullivan, however, said Russia was laying the groundwork for the invasion under false pretenses in case its President Vladimir Putin decided to go down that path.

Earlier today, Russia asked NATO to respond to its request for guarantees of non-expansion to the east next week, although the alliance has already rejected the possibility of agreeing to it.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said demands that NATO would not expand or deploy weapons to Ukraine and other former Soviet republics were key to progress in negotiations on the Ukrainian crisis.

Negotiations began amid tensions, which have risen since Russia deployed about 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine. Kiev and the West fear that the accumulation of Russian forces near Ukraine suggests an invasion of that country.

Russia, which annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, denies planning an attack on Ukraine, but warned the West that NATO expansion to other former Soviet countries is a “red line” that must not be crossed.

The United States and its allies have resolutely rejected Moscow’s request for security guarantees on NATO non-proliferation, but the two sides agreed to leave the door open for further talks on arms control and confidence-building measures.

By Editor