Russia prepares a "false flag" operation to justify the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia%20prepares%20a%20%22false%20flag%22%20operation%20to%20justify%20the%20invasion%20of%20Ukraine.
source: edition.cnn.com

Russia prepares a "false flag" operation to justify the invasion of Ukraine.

United States intelligence sources discovered that the maneuver is prepared by a commando group trained in urban warfare and explosives to carry out acts of sabotage.

The United States has information indicating that Russia has positioned a commando group to carry out a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine to create a pretext for an invasion, according to CNN information based on US government sources.

The official said the US has evidence that the operatives are trained in urban warfare and explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia's proxy forces.

The accusation echoes a statement issued by Ukraine's Defense Ministry on Friday, which said Russian special services are preparing provocations against Kremlin forces in an attempt to frame Ukraine. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan hinted at the information during a briefing with reporters on Thursday.

"Our intelligence community has developed information, which has now been downgraded, that Russia is laying the groundwork for having the option to fabricate the pretext for an invasion," Sullivan said Thursday, according to CNN. "We saw this playbook in 2014, and now they are preparing it again," he added.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that "military units of the aggressor country and its satellites are ordered to prepare for such provocations. "

The US intelligence finding comes after a week of diplomatic meetings between Russian and Western officials over Russia's tens of thousands of troops along the Ukraine border. But the talks failed to make any headway, as Russia did not commit to de-escalate tension. US and NATO officials said the Kremlin's demands were invalid, including that NATO never admits Ukraine to the alliance.

For his part, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said his country is planning "things we haven't done in the past" if Russia invades Ukraine.

Russia has  100,000 soldiers lined up alongside Ukraine, with tanks and artillery. Although it is unknown whether Russia will invade Ukraine, experts such as retired Lt. Col.  Alexander Vindman are not confident that Russian President Vladimir Putin will abstain. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most likely invasion, Vindman gave it an  8.

"The most likely scenario in my mind is a major military offensive in Ukraine," said Vindman, a former director of European affairs at the US National Security Council. "I hope I'm wrong, but that's what I see," he added, according to  National Public Radio, the US public broadcasting service.

Blinken did not say how likely an invasion is, but he did say that  Putin is adept at keeping options open and is likely weighing his odds on what might and might not work.