Washington accuses Moscow of creating a pretext to invade Ukraine

The White House assured Friday that Russia was preparing sabotage operations against its own allies in Ukraine, to “Create from scratch a pretext for an invasion” of the former Soviet republic.

Groups of Russian agents “trained in urban guerrilla warfare and the use of explosives” were sent to Ukraine to conduct “acts of sabotage” against pro-Russian separatists, posing as Ukrainians, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday.

Moscow had implemented the same strategy in 2014, before the invasion of Crimea, Ms Psaki pointed out, cited by the Wall Street Journal. According to information gathered by US intelligence, “the Russian military plans to launch these operations [de sabotage] several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February”.

The US claims – which are not supported by any specific evidence or documents – “echo a statement issued Friday by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, assuring that the Russian secret services were preparing provocations against Russian forces, with the objective of blaming Ukraine”, report CNN.

Washington’s revelations come as talks between Moscow and the West to try to resolve the Ukraine crisis, this week in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna, have failed. Russia has massed 100,000 men on the Ukrainian border in recent months but continues to assert that it has no intention of invading its neighbor.

dialogue of the deaf

The White House charges “clearly part of a strategy to prevent attacks [de Moscou] by denouncing them upstream”, analyze it New York Times. “But by refraining from releasing the incriminating documents – some of which have been shown to allies and key members of Congress – Washington is exposing itself to Russian accusations that the United States is fabricating evidence”.

In fact, Moscow denied the allegations of the White House, judged “unfounded” by the Kremlin spokesman, writing The Moscow Times.

On the diplomatic front, the dialogue of the deaf still seemed to prevail on Friday. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman suggested that Russia “send his soldiers back to their barracks” to prove to the international community that it had no intention of invading Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov quoted by the agency Tass, retorted that the Westerners themselves were installing their soldiers “in the Baltic States” and “opened military bases near the Black Sea” – an approach “inadmissible”, according to the Russian minister.

These tensions were further exacerbated on Friday by a cyberattack “massive” conducted against the websites of several Ukrainian ministries, observe the Washington Post. “Visitors to the sites were greeted with the following message: ‘Be afraid and expect the worst’. Kiev claimed to have preliminary clues implicating Russian-linked hackers.

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