Chris Lange, FISM News
New U.S. intelligence reports indicate that Moscow has been plotting the manufacture of a graphic propaganda video falsely depicting a Ukrainian attack on Russian troops as a pretext for launching an invasion of Ukraine.
Pentagon officials say the “false flag attack” would include staged explosions, corpses, and actors portraying mourners in order to spark outrage. The video would also purportedly feature American-supplied military equipment in an effort to implicate the U.S. as well.
Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby said that “the Russians are likely to want to fabricate a pretext for an invasion, which again, is right out of their playbook” at a Thursday press briefing.
“As part of this fake attack, 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 – as well as military equipment, at the hands of Ukraine or the West.” Kirby added that the U.S. has information that the equipment in the video “would be made to look like it was Western supplied” as a means of implicating the West in the staged provocation.
Kirby said that this “is just one example” of Russia’s tactics and that it is important for Washington to “call it out.”
This is not the first time that Kirby has discussed “false flag” tactics coming out of Russia, as he warned on Jan. 14 that Russia was deploying operatives to stage as Ukrainian soldiers as a means of creating a pretext to war.
This is indicative of a new strategy employed by U.S. officials in which they are releasing intelligence to the public as a means of deterring Russian aggression. Previously, these intelligence reports were held until there was more evidence that could be released to accompany them.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price was challenged by members of the press Thursday to provide proof that a propaganda film by the Kremlin was in the works, including a heated exchange between Price and Associated Press reporter Mike Lee, according to reporting by The Blaze.
“What is the evidence that they’ve planned, I mean, this is like, crisis actors? Really? This is like Alex Jones territory that you’re getting into now. What evidence do you have to support the idea that there is some propaganda film in the making?” Lee demanded.
“Matt this is derived from information known to the U.S. government, intelligence information that we have declassified,” Price responded.
Lee continued to press Price for evidence, to which Price replied, “I just delivered it.”
“No, you made a series of allegations and statements,” Lee countered. “That’s not evidence, that’s you saying it, that’s not evidence, I’m sorry.”
Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the reports, according to Reuters, saying similar allegations in the past amounted to nothing.
Russia has positioned at least 100,000 troops and military hardware at Ukraine’s border, though it denies the number is that high. The Kremlin has also remained steadfast in its insistence that Moscow is not preparing to invade Ukraine. Still, Russian officials warns that it could take unspecified military action if the West fails to meet its security demands, chief of which is a guarantee that NATO never admits Ukraine into its membership.
Moscow heavily criticized Washington’s decision to send nearly 3,000 additional troops to Poland and Romania this week and accused the West of ignoring its calls to deescalate the standoff.
U.S. Army paratroopers boarded aircraft on Thursday for deployment to Eastern Europe “in support of assuring our NATO allies and our partners in deterring Russia,” according to Army Spokesman Matthew Visser. Roughly 1,700 soldiers, mostly from the 82nd Airborne Division, departed for Poland from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and 300 service members were dispatched to Germany.
“It’s obvious that these are not steps aimed at de-escalating tensions, but on the contrary they are actions that lead to increasing tension,” Peskov said on a conference call on Thursday. “We constantly call on our American counterparts to stop aggravating tensions on the European continent. Unfortunately, the Americans continue to do so,” he added.
Washington and its NATO partners have expressed a willingness to discuss arms control with Russia and take other measures to ease tensions. Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is open to further dialogue.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenburg said there has been substantial movement of Russian military forces into Belarus this week where Ukraine’s northern neighbor and Russian forces have been conducting joint military exercises.
“This is the biggest Russian deployment there since the Cold War,” said Stoltenberg, who also relayed that the expected deployment includes 30,000 combat troops, Spetsnaz special operations forces, SU-35 fighter jets, S-400 air defense systems and nuclear-capable Iskander missiles.
In another development, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing Friday ahead of opening ceremonies for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Peskov described the meeting, which lasted more than two hours, as “a very warm, constructive, partner and allied meeting, and a very substantive one at the same time,” according to Russian News agency TASS.
Following the meeting, Putin and Xi issued a joint statement in which the two Communist leaders confirmed their alliance against “attempts by external forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions” and “interference by outside forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext.” The leaders also jointly expressed that they “are gravely concerned about serious international security challenges and believe that the fates of all nations are interconnected.”