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The United States is concerned that the Russian government is preparing for an invasion into Ukraine that may result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes, a U.S. official said Friday.
The official told Fox News 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.
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The official said that the Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February. The official said the plans are reminiscent of the Kremlin’s playbook in 2014 with the invasion of Crimea. Russia annexed Ukraine in 2014.
The Biden administration, according to the official, has information that indicates Russia has already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a “false-flag operation” in eastern Ukraine. The official warned that the operatives are trained in urban warfare, and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces.
A Russian tank T-72B3 fires as troops take part in drills at the Kadamovskiy firing range in the Rostov region in southern Russia, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (AP Photo)
The official explained that the administration’s information also indicates that Russian influence actors are already beginning to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention and sow divisions in Ukraine.
One example, the official said, is Russian officials and influence actors emphasizing narratives about “the deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and the increased militancy of Ukrainian leaders.”
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