The US Continues To See Russia Making Maneuvers In The Field That Are Consistent With Preparations To Invade Ukraine, Two Officials Say

The US Continues To See Russia Making Maneuvers In The Field That Are Consistent With Preparations To Invade Ukraine, Two Officials Say

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1 hr 11 min agoUS seeing Russia continue to prepare for invasion, with one source saying there has been “no slow down”From CNN’s Barbara Starr and Jim Sciutto

The US continues to see Russia making moves in the field that are consistent with preparations to invade Ukraine, two US officials told CNN on Monday.

One US official familiar with the latest intelligence says military preps continue unabated, there has been “no slow down.”

Those “tactical indicators” that Russian forces in the field are doing, are what they would be doing “if they were told to invade,” another US official said. The US is now looking for the “larger actions” beyond field activity that would indicate upcoming kinetic activity on a wider scale, the official said.  

Other indicators, such as electronic jamming and widespread cyberattacks, have not yet been observed, according to multiple sources. The sources cautioned that orders can always be withdrawn or that it could be misinformation meant to confuse and mislead the US and allies.

On Sunday CNN reported that the US has intelligence indicating orders have been sent to Russian commanders to proceed with an attack on Ukraine, according to two US officials and another source familiar with the US intelligence.

The intelligence regarding the order to tactical commanders and intelligence operatives is one of several indicators the US is watching to assess if Russian preparations have entered their final stages for a potential invasion.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that a Russian attack on Ukraine could begin “in the coming hours or days” and would be “extremely violent.” 

“We believe that any military operation of this size, scope and magnitude of what we believe the Russians are planning will be extremely violent. It will cost the lives of Ukrainians and Russians, civilians and military personnel alike. But we also have intelligence to suggest that there will be an even greater form of brutality because this will not simply be some conventional war between two armies: It will be a war waged by Russia on the Ukrainian people, to repress them, to crush them, to harm them,” Sullivan said during a Monday appearance on NBC’s “Today Show.” 1 hr 26 min agoForensic analysis of separatists’ video casts serious doubts on authenticity From CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore

It was a dramatic video, widely shared when it appeared last Friday by Telegram channels sympathetic to Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

It supposedly showed a barrage of gunfire and shelling by Polish-speaking saboteurs trying to blow up a chlorine tank near the city of Horlivka a week earlier — on February 11. Horlivka is in territory controlled by the separatists of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic.

The press service of the People’s Militia of the DPR picked it up and claimed that the saboteurs were killed and the video was recovered from their bodies. 

However, metadata from the video file reveals a creation date of February 8, ten days before it was shared on Telegram, a CNN analysis shows. And three days before the alleged date of the attack.

The messaging platform preserves metadata for the videos posted there and it cannot be changed.

But that is not all. Another section of the metadata — called a “pantry creator tool” — revealed that Adobe Premiere Pro was used to edit the video using different assets — called “ingredients” — from a separate repository.

“It seems to be a composed video, meaning that it is a collection of several assets, for example, when you add audio to a video or build a collection of smaller clips, images etc.,” said Givi Gigitashvili, research associate at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. 

“The ingredients file path of this particular video contains a name ‘2021-02-04 ВИДЕО-ЗАПИСЬ ДРГ(+).mp4,’ which may indicate that some ingredients are from 2021,” he added. 

The location of that and other video assets also has “2021” and “February 2” as names for project folders, again suggesting that the original timeframe dates back to last year. 

Among these assets, also in the Pantry section of the metadata, is a filename “M72A5 LAW and AIPLAS live fire.mp4.”

As first noticed by Eliot Higgins, founder and creative director of Bellingcat, the filename corresponds to a YouTube video with the same name, featuring explosions and gunfire at a location in Finland. 

CNN asked Rob Maher, an audio forensics expert at Montana State University, to analyze the media assets. He compared the boom sequence audio from one of the shots in the YouTube video with similar audio in the Telegram video. 

“The sequence of booms is remarkably similar in timing,” Maher concluded. “For the particular boom I compared, the timing is not exactly identical, but it is inexplicably similar.”

According to Maher, in order for the boom sequences in both videos to be that similar, “the geometrical relationship between the artillery piece, target, and microphone would have to be the same” — meaning that they would have to be in the exact same position in both videos. 

If the geometry was different “the relative time of arrival of the various boom sounds would be different” because the boom sound would propagate at different speeds to the microphone. 

“It seems pretty unexpected and coincidental that those acoustic arrival times would be so similar in these two ‘unrelated’ videos,” Maher concluded. “If the assertion is that the separatists’ video contains edited sound, this might be one explanation.”

Maher’s findings are corroborated by other sound designers and experts on Twitter such as Ciaran Walsh, who compared the spectral analysis of the explosions in the two videos, and arrived at similar conclusions. 

“I think (there’s) plenty of evidence indicating that audio is added from that YouTube video,” Gigitashvili said. 

It is not the first time that separatists have been seen posting questionable videos on Telegram. A CNN analysis of the Friday video statements by the leaders of the DPR and Luhansk People’s Republic revealed that the footage was recorded 2 days earlier.

2 hr 24 min agoRussia accused of “deliberate provocation” over shelling claimFrom CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv and Anna Chernova and Sarah Dean in Moscow

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine has accused Russian authorities of “deliberate provocation” after Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed on Monday that a shell fired from Ukrainian territory had destroyed a border guard post in Russia’s southern Rostov region.

“The statement of the Russian Federation FSB about the shelling from the territory of Ukraine — as a result of which the duty location of the border guards of the Russian Federation was destroyed — is a deliberate provocation,” Ukraine’s State Border Guard said Monday. 

“In particular, the exact place where it took place is not specified, except mentioning 150 meters from the Russian-Ukrainian border within the Rostov region,” the statement added. 

The FSB is Russia’s main domestic security agency and oversees Russian state border defense.

On Monday it said “an unidentified shell fired from the territory of Ukraine completely destroyed” a border control station about 150 meters from the border.

CNN was not able to independently verify the incident or the point of orig

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The US continues to see Russia making maneuvers in the field that are consistent with preparations to invade Ukraine, two officials say

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