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14 Feb, 2022 20:10

Russia planning coups in major Ukrainian cities, UK claims

Regime change will begin immediately following an invasion, according to the British government
Russia planning coups in major Ukrainian cities, UK claims

British spies believe that Russian-backed agents and saboteurs are hatching a plan to stage uprisings across Ukraine in the wake of an all-out invasion, according to the latest slew of allegations handed to the media by anonymous officials.

The Guardian reported on Sunday that UK intelligence is claiming that Moscow has a two-step plan to effect regime change across Ukraine. First, the armed forces would attack and strike at “military targets,” then encircle the capital Kiev and “possibly other major cities,” before dispatching agents of the FSB, the successor agency to the KGB, to install pro-Russian leadership.

According to the report, Britain believes that such a plan would be enacted in an attempt to avoid “bloody and high-risk urban warfare” following an invasion. However, no evidence to support the assessment has been provided.

Western leaders have been warning for months that Russia could be planning an invasion of Ukraine, despite Moscow repeatedly rejecting the accusation. Meanwhile, US and UK intelligence agencies have leaked a series of reports alleging various plans for aggressive action in Ukraine on the part of Russia. Earlier this month, the US claimed that Moscow was planning “a fake attack by Ukrainian military or intelligence forces” against “Russian sovereign territory” or “Russian-speaking people,” as a pretext for invasion. They suggested this would involve filming “a very graphic propaganda video, which would include corpses and actors that would be depicting mourners and images of destroyed locations.”

No evidence was presented to show that Russia had any such plan, and Moscow’s embassy in Washington compared the accusation to former secretary of state Colin Powell’s false claim in 2003 that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was in possession of biological weapons, which was part of the justification given for the American invasion of later that year.

Likewise, in December, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed private American military companies were preparing a false-flag attack using chemical weapons in Ukraine’s conflict-ridden east. However, he did not provide further details or evidence to back up the claim.

Politico reported this month that some US intelligence and national security officials had expressed misgivings over President Joe Biden’s strategy of releasing regular intelligence reports to the public, fearing that declassifications could hurt Washington’s credibility if they turned out to be wrong. State Department spokesman Ned Price also faced a grilling from reporters when he took to the podium to set out claims that a propaganda video was being made, with one reporter from the Associated Press also likening it to previous intelligence malfunctions that there were “WMDs in Iraq” or that “Kabul won’t fall” to the Taliban.