First on CNN: US intelligence indicates Russia preparing operation to justify invasion of UkraineUS intelligence indicates Russia preparing operation to justify invasion of Ukraine

The official said the United States had evidence that the agents were trained in urban warfare and the use of explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russian proxy forces.

The allegation echoes a statement released Friday by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, which said Russian special services were preparing provocations against Russian forces with the aim of trapping Ukraine. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hinted at the intelligence during a briefing with reporters on Thursday.

“Our intelligence community has developed information, which has now been declassified, that Russia is laying the groundwork for the possibility of fabricating the pretext for an invasion,” Sullivan said Thursday. “We saw this playbook in 2014. They are preparing this playbook again and we, and the administration, will have more details on what we see as this potential pretense to share with the press over the next 24 hours. .”

US warns Russia is ringing

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that “military units of the aggressor country and its satellites are ordered to prepare for such provocations.”

The US official said the Biden administration believes Russia may be preparing for an invasion of Ukraine “which could lead to widespread human rights abuses and war crimes if diplomacy fails to achieve her goals”.

“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. “We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea.”

The United States has also seen Russian influencers begin to prepare the Russian public for an intervention, the official said, including highlighting stories about deteriorating human rights in Ukraine and the increased militancy of Ukrainian leaders.

“In December, Russian-language content on social media covering these three stories grew to an average of nearly 3,500 posts per day, a 200% increase from the November daily average,” noted the responsible.

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