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US and UK accuse Russia of planning to create a pretext for Ukraine invasion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby (File photo by Getty Images) )

The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Russia of planning to create a pretext to invade Ukraine, despite the fact that, according to an independent analyst, it is Washington that has a long record of carrying out so-called "false flag" operations to launch wars.

“We do have information that the Russians are likely to want to fabricate a pretext for an invasion,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Thursday.

“One option is the Russian government, we think, is planning to stage a fake attack by Ukrainian military or intelligence forces against Russian sovereign territory, or against Russian speaking people, to therefore justify their action,” he added.

The Pentagon spokesman confirmed a report first published by The Washington Post on Thursday that claimed Russia has prepared a false flag operation, approved at high levels in Moscow, against Ukraine.

"We believe that Russia would produce a very graphic propaganda video, which would include corpses and actors that would be depicting mourners and images of destroyed locations, as well as military equipment at the hands of Ukraine or the West, even to the point where some of this equipment would be made to look like it was Western supplied to Ukraine equipment,” Kirby said.

He suggested that the operation be approved by the Kremlin. "Our experience is that very little of this nature is not approved at the highest levels of the Russian government."

The Washington Post, which is considered close to sources at the CIA, reported on early Thursday that, according to people "familiar with the matter," the Biden administration would reveal an alleged Russian plan whose details have been declassified by American intelligence.

This comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US and its allies of deliberately designing a scenario to lure Moscow into a war over Ukraine.

The Russian president said at a recent news conference in Moscow on Wednesday that the United States was trying to pull Russia into an armed conflict over the thorny issue of Ukraine.

However, as New York-based analyst and political commentator Don DeBar pointed out, it is the United States, not Russia, that has a long record of running so-called "false flag" operations to enable invasion and war.

"There is no ambiguity there," DeBar commented to Press TV. "This is what they (Americans) do when they need an excuse to go to war. Whether the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the incubator babies and then the invisible WMDs in Iraq, the phony claims of Libyan airplanes strafing protestors, all the way back to the sinking of the Maine... the US government lies, kills and misdirects in order to provide what is, in essence, political public relations cover for war."

Putin has said that, among other things, Washington is seeking a confrontation with Moscow as a pretext to impose more sanctions on Russia, a particular focus since the completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Europe.

“Ukraine is just an instrument of achieving this goal. It can be done in different ways, such as pulling us into some armed conflict and then forcing their allies in Europe to enact those harsh sanctions against us that are being discussed today in the United States,” he said.

According to the Post report, the operation was designed by Russian security services and is in the advanced stages of preparation. The unnamed US officials reportedly said that Russia will falsely pin the attack, which could involve alleged casualties not only in eastern Ukraine but also in Russia, on Ukrainian forces.

The alleged operation would involve broadcasting images of civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine to create a pretext for invasion, the officials said, adding “this is a specific operation designed to create a potential pretext.”

A senior Biden administration official told The Hill that this option is "one of a number of options Russia has developed," saying that they were publicizing the possible plan "in the hopes that it dissuades Russia from its intended course of action."

“We are making it available to you for a couple reasons. One, is to attempt to deter the Russians from going ahead with this activity. Two, in the event we're not able to do that, in the event the Russians do go ahead with this, to make it clear as day, to lay bare the fact that this has always been an attempt on the part of the Russian Federation to fabricate a pretext,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement on Thursday that it is "clear and shocking evidence of Russia’s unprovoked aggression" against Ukraine.

She called on Russia to choose diplomacy over escalating tensions with Ukraine.

"This bellicose intent towards a sovereign, democratic country is completely unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Truss said. "The UK and our allies will continue to expose Russian subterfuge and propaganda and call it out for what it is."

These statements from the US and UK come in an environment of massively heightened tensions, an intensive anti-Russian propaganda campaign by Washington, and deployment of forces and equipment throughout most of the former Warsaw Pact nations and three former Soviet republics that have joined NATO, with at least two others (Georgia and Ukraine) not yet admitted as formal members but who are involved in military cooperation, including hosting military assets, with the US and NATO.

The United States claims that Russia has been deploying thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine to attack the country. Moscow has rejected the allegations and said the military build-up is defensive.

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