According to CBS News, U.S. officials have confirmed that new details about Russia’s plan for a fake flag attack in Ukraine were discussed in the Situation room on Thursday night during an emergency meeting.
This detail was only part of the information described by two U.S. officials as a large mosaic of information that has been growing since the fall. It has led to the Biden administration planning for the worst-case scenario, a simultaneous multi-axis attack on Ukraine by Russian military.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported that a false flag operation was one of the data points included in the new intelligence.
Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, told reporters that Friday’s meeting was a confirmation that Russia is intent on creating a false flag operation to justify invasion. “Something that they create and attempt to blame on Ukraine as a trigger to military action.” Sullivan stated that any future attack would likely start with “aerial bombing, missile attacks,” before being followed by “the onslaught a large force.”
Russian forces are well-positioned to send troops across Ukraine’s border with Belarus and launch an attack from the Black Sea. Moscow can also send troops to Ukraine’s east border.
U.S. officials claim that Russia has intelligence operatives present on the ground, which could be used to create a false flag and provide a pretext for invasion. U.S. officials stated last month that this could be Russian operatives who are “trained in urban warfare” and can use explosives to commit acts of sabotage against Russia’s proxy forces.
Conditions that freeze the ground could allow heavy Russian military equipment, including tanks, to move more easily. Russian President Vladimir Putin may also use ground troops.
Although the U.S. does not have any evidence that Putin is planning to use these assets to launch an invasion, they insist that he is capable of making this decision with little warning. Politico reported Friday that the U.S. had intelligence that indicated that Russian military leaders were being prepared by February 16,.
The U.S. pulled out U.S. military advisors and some embassy staff from Kyiv, and moved staff to Lviv, a small city in western Ukraine, to address the cumulative picture of Moscow’s plans. Sullivan stated Friday that planning is essential, even though the U.S. doesn’t know what will happen.
Officials from the U.S., Western countries, and others, believe that Putin could make this a costly and dangerous bluff. However, they insist that their leaders must weigh the risks.
Three Western officials representing allied countries expressed doubt that Putin would go so far as to send 100,000 soldiers on the march, risking a state-on–state conflict, or even be open to the possibility of taking over the occupation of a country which has been resisting Russian aggression for eight years. All three officials acknowledged that intelligence suggests that the Russian military is planning for this option.