The US has alleged that Russia is preparing to “fabricate a pretext for an invasion” of Ukraine, using a “graphic” video that would depict a fake attack carried out by Ukraine against Russia.
According to the CIA, the US has intelligence suggesting that the Russian government, with the help of Russia’s intelligence services, has been planning to produce a propaganda video depicting graphic scenes of a “staged false explosion with corpses, actors depicting mourners, and images of destroyed locations and military equipment,” the official said.
The US says it believes Russia has already recruited actors to be involved in the video production of the alleged fake attack. It also alleged that the military equipment used in the video of the fabricated attack would be made to look like it is Ukrainian or from a nation allied to Ukraine.
The US said the video could include images of Bayraktar drones, which NATO ally Turkey has provided to Ukraine, “as a means to implicate NATO in the attack.”
The fake attack in the video would be aimed against Russian sovereign territory or against Russian-speaking people, US officials said, and would “be released to underscore a threat to Russia’s security and to underpin military operations,” the official said.
“This video, if released, could provide Putin the spark he needs to initiate and justify military operations against Ukraine.”‘
“It shows the level of cynicism, frankly, that is on the other side of this conflict,” Deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told MSNBC on Thursday, February 3.
“We’re not saying definitively this is what they’re going to do. We are saying that this is an option under consideration, and that they have used these sorts of pretext in the past to justify military action.”
Finer said the US is making the accusation public in order to “make it much more difficult for [Russia] after the fact to claim that they had to do whatever they decided to do.”
This comes as Russia continues building up forces and military equipment along Ukraine’s borders, despite diplomatic efforts by the US and allies to de-escalate the situation.
In January, the US revealed it had information indicating Russia had prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine in an attempt to create a pretext for an invasion.