T + T – normal size
US intelligence officials have monitored an ongoing Russian effort to create a pretext for Russian forces to stage a possible further invasion of Ukraine, and say that Moscow has already prepared agents for a “spurious operation” in eastern Ukraine, the White House announced.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday that US intelligence findings show that Russia is also laying the groundwork for that effort through a disinformation campaign on social media by portraying Ukraine as an aggressor preparing an imminent attack on Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine.
“We are concerned that the Russian government is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine, which may result in widespread human rights abuses and war crimes if diplomacy fails to achieve its objectives,” she added.
The White House did not elaborate on how confident it was in the assessment.
A US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on intelligence, said much of the information was obtained through interception of communications and notes about people’s movements.
For his part, a spokesman for the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) described this intelligence information as “highly reliable.”
US intelligence, which was declassified and shared with US allies before it was announced, estimates that a military invasion could begin between mid-January and mid-February.