Tensions have been growing increasingly high since the beginning of the year in Eastern Europe. In particular, Russian troops have been gathering along the border of the Ukraine, and aerial photos show that these troops – thought to number over 100,000 – have equipment with them. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other American diplomats have been in constant talks with members of the Russian government in an effort to prevent further Russian aggression toward the Ukraine, which was a part of the fallen Soviet Union.
On Thursday, however, the Pentagon confirmed that America possesses intelligence showing that Russia could be planning to “fabricate” any excuse it can muster in order to invade Ukraine.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Russia has “developed a plan to create a pretext for a Ukraine invasion by falsely pinning an attack on Ukrainian forces.” Some intelligence points to the idea that there may be a video that seemingly depicts this fake attack.
John Kirby, Pentagon spokesperson, sad that the United States intelligence learned of this possible tactic. Kirby said this is a move “right out of their playbook.” Kirby had been asked to confirm the story from the Washington Post.
Kirby went on to elaborate on this intelligence and what it could mean: “(We think Russia will) stage a fake attack by what appears to be military forces in Ukraine or intelligence forces against Russian sovereign territory or against people who speak Russian to therefore justify their action as part of this fake attack.”
Kirby added that intelligence shows that Russia could produce “a very graphic video using propaganda” – one that would possibly include clips of destroyed locations, actors depicting grieving victims, and even corpses. Kirby also said that images of military equipment being used by Ukrainians – or even the West – may be a part of the video. Kirby added that the equipment of the possible video “would be made to look like it was supplied by the West and its allies.” President Joe Biden has already sent $200 million in assistance to the Ukraine; he has also authorized the Baltic states to send equipment made in the US to the country as well.
Kirby added that this is the type of activity Russia has used in the past.
The Washington Post said in their report that this move was approved by those in the top levels of Russian government.
When asked about this statement, Kirby answered in the affirmative: “(it is) our experience (that) very litte of this nature is not approved at the highest levels of the Russian government.”
This, of course, refers to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday, the day before the Post broke the story that Kirby confirmed, the United States announced it would deploy 3,000 more troops in Eastern Europe, particularly Germany, Poland, and Romania. The Pentagon says that the forces sent to these areas are “not going to fight for the Ukrainians,” but they will be a presence to “ensure a robust defense of our NATO allies.”
Last week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had put up to 8,500 troops on “heightened preparedness” ahead of a possible call from NATO to assist the Ukraine.