Russian troop withdrawal a ‘deliberate ruse’ – media
The Kremlin masterminded a fake military drawback from the border with Ukraine as part of a broader plan to disguise Russia’s true intentions to invade, The Washington Post has claimed, citing anonymous US intelligence sources.
In a report published on Thursday, the American outlet also said that the same plot also includes ongoing military exercises, alongside a future false-flag attack in Donbass or inside Russia. The plan is meant to both conceal and justify an invasion of Ukraine, the sources claimed.
According to four anonymous US officials, Russia’s announced troop withdrawal from Ukraine’s border was a “deliberate ruse to mislead the United States and other world powers.”
The intelligence community assessment echoes the words of US President Joe Biden. Earlier on Thursday, speaking to reporters at the White House, Biden said that the threat of invasion remains “very high,” claiming that Moscow is probably going to attack Ukraine “in the next several days.”
“We have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false-flag operation to have an excuse to go in,” he added.
A similar sentiment was also expressed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who, on the same day, told the UN Security Council that the Kremlin’s pretext for intervention might come from a false flag operation, such as staging a chemical attack on civilians in Donbass or a terrorist bombing inside Russia.
Blinken’s accusations were refuted by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin, who joked that “the announced date” of invasion, promoted by Western media, “is behind us.” Vershinin, who chaired the meeting, also called on Washington to pressure Kiev to start implementing the Minsk peace agreements.
Earlier in the week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also cast doubt on Russia’s claims that it intends to withdraw troops from the Ukrainian border. In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that soldiers will be sent to their home bases after military exercises are completed.
Since November last year, Western media and politicians have repeatedly accused Moscow of amassing thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine, with some suggesting it is planning an invasion. On February 15, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced soldiers would soon return home.