Washington believes Moscow could stage a fake incident to justify military action
The Kremlin is laying the groundwork to fabricate a reason for invading Ukraine, including possible sabotage activities and information operations, a senior White House official claimed on Thursday.
Speaking to the press, United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the American intelligence community believes Moscow is planning a scenario where it can justify a military incursion into Ukraine, noting that more information will be published "over the course of the next 24 hours."
"Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for an invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine," Sullivan said, accusing Russia of using similar tactics in 2014.
The accusation follows months of suggestions in American media that Russia is allegedly planning an invasion of Ukraine, with intelligence reports stating that Moscow has placed 100,000 troops on the border. Plans for military action have been repeatedly denied by the Kremlin, which says it is simply moving its own troops on its territory.
Earlier this week, Wendy Sherman, the US deputy secretary of state, held talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov in Geneva to discuss potential solutions to the current European security crisis. Following the bilateral meeting, Sherman told reporters that Washington was prepared to impose severe costs on Moscow if it invades Ukraine.
"We are more than ready and totally in line with our partners and allies on the need to impose severe costs on Russia through financial sanctions, export controls that target key industries, enhancements of NATO force posture on Allied territory, and increased security assistance to Ukraine," she said.