A US official has said Russia is plotting "provocative actions" to find an excuse to invade Ukraine.
A Pentagon spokesman for Russia's Pentagon said in a statement that Russia was planning to launch a "False Flag" operation in Ukraine so that Moscow could accuse it of plotting to invade Ukraine, but Russia denied the allegations. The allegations come a week after talks between the United States and Russia eased tensions.
Ukraine on Friday accused Russia of backing cyberattacks on dozens of government websites.
Before the sites went offline, a message appeared urging Ukrainians to "be prepared for the worst." However, access to most sites was restored within hours.
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The United States and NATO have condemned the attack and offered assistance to Ukraine. Russia has not commented on the hacking. "It was all part of Russia's plan," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday.
Russia has already deployed a group of operatives, which we call a fake flag operation
U.S. officials say the operatives have been trained in civil war strategy and the use of explosives in sabotage operations against pro-Russian rebels. Ukraine's Defense Ministry says similar operations are being planned against Russian troops stationed in the Transnistrian region, which has seceded from Moldova. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the reports "unconfirmed."
America's dramatic step
It is not uncommon for the United States to expose such specific intelligence commitments, but the Biden administration has explicitly thwarted any Russia's militant claims against Ukraine by exposing its alleged tactics of sabotage and misinformation.
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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the United States wanted the world to know how the game could be played out for the attack because the scenario was from the same playbook that the Russians used in Crimea.
It is a dramatic step after a week of intense diplomacy in which suggestions were made but no agreement was reached on how to resolve the crisis. Kirby says the administration still believes there is time and space for diplomacy and that it does not believe President Vladimir Putin has made a final decision to invade Ukraine further.
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Russia has tens of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine, as well as a stockpile of weapons, raising fears of an attack. US and Russian officials have been negotiating for the past week to ease tensions over Ukraine, but no agreement seems to have been reached.
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