The US won’t give up on the narrative that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine, and now the White House is claiming that the US has information that indicates Moscow is planning a “false-flag” operation in eastern Ukraine to use as a pretext for invading.
“We have information that indicates Russia has already pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in Eastern Ukraine. The operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday.
Russia’s alleged plans were first reported by CNN. One of the co-authors of the initial report was Natasha Bertrand, a reporter who built her career on pushing the Steele Dossier, a now-thoroughly debunked document that made false claims about the Russian government and the Trump campaign in 2016.
After the CNN report, the claim Russia is preparing a false-flag spread through most major US media outlets and was repeated by the Pentagon. Missing from the reports and comments from US officials is any evidence to back up the extraordinary claim.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, denied the US accusation. “So far, all these statements have been unsubstantiated and not backed up by anything,” Peskov said.
Overshadowed by the US accusations was a Thursday report from Yahoo News that revealed the CIA has been secretly training Ukrainian paramilitaries at an undisclosed military base in the US since 2015. One former CIA official said the program has taught the Ukrainians how to “kill Russians.”
Russia held talks with the US and NATO this week on Ukraine and other security issues. Moscow wants guarantees that Ukraine won’t join NATO, but the demand was flatly rejected by the Western powers.