The United States accused Russia on Friday of orchestrating an operation to create a pretext to invade or enter Ukraine, after an intense week of diplomatic contacts in Europe with Moscow, which have yielded few results.
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Both from the White House and from the Pentagon, the US government affirmed that Russia has positioned a group of operatives to carry out what in US military jargon is called “a false flag operation” in eastern Ukraine.
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Department of Defense spokesman, John Kirby, explained in a press conference that it would be an operation “designed to look like an attack against them (Russians) or their people, or Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, as an excuse to enter” on Ukrainian soil.
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The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, assured, for his part, that these Russian operatives are trained in urban guerrilla warfare and in the use of explosives “to carry out acts of sabotage against the Russian forces themselves”, that justify this intervention.
A MIXTURE OF INDIVIDUALS WITHIN THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT
According to the Pentagon, these operations would be a mixture of individuals within the Russian government that can be from intelligence and security agents, to even soldiers, “are often hybrids”.
Parallel to this alleged operation, Kirby pointed out that the US has indications that “Russian-influenced actors” have begun to spread false provocations by Ukraine, both in state media and on social networks to invent a pretext for an incursion.
According to the White House, Moscow intends to create the “narrative” that there is a deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and power as well “justify russian intervention”.
LOOK: Massive cyber attacks against Ukraine: a prelude to a military offensive amid tension with Russia?
These accusations coincide with the denunciations made this Friday by Ukraine about a cyber attack on 70 web pages, several of them governmental, such as those of the Cabinet of Ministers or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which Kiev considers to have the “russian footprint”.
Psaki also referred to this in his appearance before the media, where he warned that the US will take “the necessary measures” to “defend” the European country, although he did not directly point to Russia as being responsible for the computer sabotage.
Washington recalled that it is not the first time that it has seen Moscow act in this way – in reference to the invasion of Crimea in 2014 – and that now the ball is in the court of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
To a question from journalists about whether Putin would be aware of these maneuvers, Kirby opined that “it is difficult for these types of activities to be carried out without the knowledge, or without the approval, of the highest levels of the Russian government”.
Despite these accusations, Washington does not believe that Putin has already made the decision to attack Ukraine and expressed his preference that “diplomacy prevail”: “The Administration is unwilling to abandon efforts to resolve this diplomatically.Kirby assured.
Psaki stressed that Putin must determine “Wich is the way to go”.
“If they decide to invade Ukraine, the economic consequences go far beyond 2014 – when Russia invaded Crimea. If they decide they want to engage in diplomatic talks, we are very open”, said the spokeswoman.
The US is offering military assistance to Kiev and there are currently some 200 Florida National Guard troops in Ukraine — a reserve military corps — on a training mission.
“They are on a rotating mission of assistance and advice. It’s something we’ve been doing for several years”, Kirby specified, who did not want to clarify the future of these troops in the event of a possible Russian incursion.
The US launched these accusations against Moscow after an intense week of meetings in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna, in which Russian representatives have held meetings with US officials, as well as NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which have produced few results.
Against this background, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, proposed to Biden to hold a trilateral meeting with Putin to reduce tension in the region, Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential office, announced today.
Putin has accused Zelensky of handing the leadership of Ukraine over to foreign hands, specifically the US, Germany and France.
The border tension between the two countries and Ukraine’s aspiration to join NATO focused the consultations held this week between Russia, the US and the Atlantic Alliance.
Moscow acknowledged that the US position on NATO’s eastward expansion remains “impenetrable” and assured that he will not wait “eternally” to receive a response on security guarantees.
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