U.S. intel suggests Russia is planning a false-flag operation

CNN first reported the intelligence obtained.

Senior US officials, including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, have reviewed in recent days that the United States has information indicating that Moscow was laying the groundwork for another incursion.

“Russia is laying the groundwork for an option to fabricate a pretext for an invasion, including through sabotage activities and media operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House on Thursday. The administration promised to share more details within the next 24 hours.

The revelation comes after a week of talks in Europe between the United States, its allies, and Russia. Little progress has been made, leading officials to openly express their pessimism. Michael Carpenter, America’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, told reporters on Thursday: “Right now, we’re facing a crisis in European security. The drums of war are beating loudly, and the rhetoric has gotten rather loud.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov added more fuel to the fire on Friday, saying the Kremlin wants the United States and NATO to accept its demands that Ukraine and Georgia never join the alliance. “If our proposals are rejected … we will make a decision on how to guarantee our security in a reliable way,” adding that Russian officials “have run out of patience.”

The Ukrainian government also issued a statement on Friday indicating that it had intelligence that Russian forces were preparing “provocations” against other Russian armed forces to criminalize Ukraine.

Andrei Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, said during Friday’s event at the Atlantic Council that a new Russian invasion “would be [a] A great tragedy, and it will be [a] A great war, “because most Ukrainians” will fight against the aggressors.

Oriana Pawlek contributed to this report.

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