Chess pieces are seen in front of displayed Russia and Ukraine’s flags in this illustration taken January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
Feb 3 (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia has formed a plan to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine, potentially by producing propaganda videos showing a staged attack, according to a senior Biden administration official.
Russia is formulating several options to give it an excuse for an invasion of Ukraine, the official said.
One is a fabricated video showing the graphic aftermath of an explosion, including equipment appearing to belong to Ukraine or allied nations, according to the official, who requested anonymity.
“The video will be released to underscore a threat to Russia’s security and to underpin military operations,” the official said. “This video, if released, could provide Putin the spark he needs to initiate and justify military operations against Ukraine.”
The U.S. official said Washington is publicizing the specific allegation in order to “dissuade” Russia from following through with such plans.
“We don’t know definitively that this is the route they (Russia) are going to take, but we know that this is an option under consideration,” U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Jonathan Finer said in a media interview.
It “would involve actors playing mourners for people who are killed in an event that they (Russia) would have created themselves… (and) deployment of corpses to represent bodies purportedly killed,” Finer told MSNBC.
Russia has accused the United States of ramping up tensions and ignoring Moscow’s calls to ease a standoff over Ukraine, a day after Washington announced it would send nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania.
Russia has denied plans of an invasion but has amassed thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine.
Reporting by Steve Holland, Rami Ayyub and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
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