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The United States is concerned that the Russian government is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine that could lead to widespread human rights violations and war crimes, a US official said on Friday.
The official told Fox News that Russia was preparing the ground for the possibility of fabricating a pretext for an invasion, including through sabotage and information operations, accusing Ukraine of preparing an invasion. imminent attack on Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
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The official said the Russian military plans to start 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, the official said, has information indicating that Russia has already prepositioned a group of agents to conduct a “false flag operation” in eastern Ukraine. The official warned that agents are trained in urban warfare and the use of explosives to commit acts of sabotage against Russian proxy forces.
The official explained that the administration’s information also indicates that Russian influence actors are already starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify Russian intervention and sow division in Ukraine.
One example, the official said, is that of Russian officials and influential actors emphasizing accounts of “the deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and the increased militancy of the Ukrainian leadership.”
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“These media accounts also blame the West for escalating tensions, highlight humanitarian issues in Ukraine that Russian intervention could resolve, and promote Russian patriotism to encourage national support for military action,” said the manager.
Last month, the official said Russian-language social media content covering “these three stories” had grown to an average of almost 3,500 posts per day, a 200% increase from the daily average for November. .
This, after the Biden administration maintained this week that it is “working closely” with its allies to “urge de-escalation and respond to the security crisis caused by Russia.”
The Biden administration has expressed concern over Russian military activity since early November and has made officials “monitor the region very closely.”
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White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met Ukrainian officials in November and “underscored the United States’ unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
US officials at the time, however, said that even amid the threat of a possible invasion, the Ukrainian military is better armed and prepared than in the past.