The New York Times reported Friday that the Biden administration is considering backing an insurgency in Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion.
Although the Russians strongly deny that they are planning to invade Ukraine, the Biden administration continues to warn of the possibility. Now, the US is accusing Russia of plotting a “false-flag” operation in eastern Ukraine to create a pretext for an invasion, another accusation Moscow denies.
The Times report cited unnamed Biden administration officials that said the US has made clear to its allies that the CIA and Pentagon would back a Ukrainian insurgency if Russia quickly captured territory in the country.
Administration officials said the US would “almost certainly” give the insurgents weapons. Other types of support could include training in nearby NATO countries, the supply of medical equipment, and sanctuary during Russian offensives. A report from Yahoo News on Thursday revealed that the CIA has been training Ukrainian paramilitaries since 2015.
Since the US-backed coup in Kyiv in 2014, the US has provided Ukraine with about $2.5 billion in military aid. On Wednesday, a group of Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would authorize an additional $500 million in military aid, on top of the $300 million that is allocated to Kyiv by the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
Russia has little to gain from invading Ukraine, but if Moscow decides to take the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, there would likely be no insurgency considering the separatists have previously asked to join the Russian Federation. The Times report pointed out that there was no armed resistance when Russia took Crimea, which is because the people of the peninsula overwhelmingly voted in favor of being absorbed by Russia following the 2014 coup.