Russia claims to have discovered Ukrainian Donbass attack plan
Secret Ukrainian documents allegedly captured by the Russian military seemingly prove that Kiev was planning a major offensive against the breakaway eastern Donbass regions, this month, which Moscow preempted with its own attack, Russia’s Ministry of Defense has declared. It published the purported evidence on Wednesday.
The release includes images of six pages, which are claimed to have been captured in Ukraine. Written in the Ukrainian language and bearing the traits of official paperwork, they appear to be classified communications of the Ukrainian National Guard. RT has been unable to independently verify the documents.
According to the papers, in late January, National Guard Commander Colonel General Mykola Balan ordered at least some units under his command to boost their capabilities for conducting warfare against the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
Various parts of the preparation had to be completed throughout February, with a final deadline of February 28, according to the documents. The measures were ordered based on an instruction purportedly issued by President Volodymyr Zelensky on January 18. The presidential website does not list a document that the papers released by Moscow correspond with.
The Russian military claims the documents provide clear indication that Kiev was planning to launch a major offensive against the rebels sometime in March. It pointed out that the commander apparently stressed the need to screen soldiers based on their mental state, including the capacity to take risks when carrying out orders.
“We remember well the statements by the Kiev regime, which the Western media disseminated in February, claiming there were no plans for a military takeover of [the breakaway republics], their determination to resolve all issues through diplomacy,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said during a briefing on Wednesday.
“But the originals of the secret combat documents of the National Guard of Ukraine conclusively prove that those statements were false,” he stated.
The official said the Russian military operation preempted a major Ukrainian attack against Donetsk and Lugansk, which the ministry believes would have started in March.
He added the only question that remains to be answered is to what degree, if any, Western nations participated in the planning. NATO nations have been training and arming the Ukrainian National Guard for years, Konashenkov said.
Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, days after recognizing the two breakaway regions as sovereign nations and pledging to defend them with force. Among other things, Moscow claimed the offensive was necessary to stop hostilities between government and rebel forces, which have continued since 2014, and the deaths of civilians amid the fighting.
Kiev and its foreign backers have described the Russian assault as unprovoked. The US and its allies have imposed crippling economic sanctions against Russia, stating that the damage that their own economies would suffer as a result was a price worth paying to defend Ukraine.