Russia may invade Ukraine with 'false' pretext: US


The United States (US) has accused Russia of searching for a pretext to launch an invasion of Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday (local time) said that the window for a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains open.

During a media briefing, Psaki said that the window for a potential Russian attack on Ukraine remains open and warned a fabricated pretext for an incursion could include reports like the one about mass graves in the Donbas region, reported CNN. 

“We are in the window where we believe an attack could begin at any time,” said Psaki.

She said the US was not taking Russian claims of de-escalation at face value.

“There’s what Russia says and what Russia does,” Psaki said. 

Russian troops “remain amassed in a threatening way on the border.”

Asked by CNN what a “meaningful de-escalation” would look like, Psaki did not provide specifics.

“We will know it when we see it,” she said, noting the US was seeking a “verifiable reduction of troops on the border with Ukraine” but not laying out metrics.

She repeated White House warnings of “false flag” events meant to create the pretext for an invasion and said “everyone should keep eyes open” for fake videos or reports emerging on Russian media.

Asked about a cyberattack in Ukraine that took down some government websites, Psaki said she didn’t have details on attribution for who was responsible.

She said making such a determination was difficult because adversaries work to “hide their tracks” in cyberspace.

An apparent cyberattack hit Ukraine’s defense ministry and armed forces, and two Ukrainian banks on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear who was responsible.

Psaki also said that the “door continues to be open for diplomacy,” though said Russian responses to US security concerns hadn’t yet been received in Washington.

“I think we are still waiting for that,” she said.

US President Joe Biden has also said there was still “plenty of room for diplomacy” with Russia to avoid a conflict in Europe.

Russia earlier said that it is withdrawing some troops following drills around Ukraine has been met with scepticism from Western leaders who have called for proof, with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying they haven’t seen “meaningful pullback” of Russian forces, reported CNN.

Ukraine rebels accuse govt of mortar shelling

In a dramatic development in the standoff between Russia and US-NATO in eastern Europe, rebels in Ukraine have accused the government of mortar shelling.

The latest development comes amid claims by the US and NATO that Russia has deployed additional forces near the border with Ukraine.

Russia deploys additional forces at Ukraine border

Fears of a Russian attack on Ukraine have not yet become a reality, but the United States and its allies say fears remain high.

According to Western estimates, Russia has deployed more than 150,000 troops in the east, north and south of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that he wants a peaceful solution to the crisis, and US President Joe Biden has promised that the United States will give “every chance” to a diplomatic solution to the crisis, but reports of more troop deployments. Has raised doubts about Moscow’s intentions.

Earlier, Russia said on Wednesday it was bringing more troops and weapons back to military bases.

Russia’s Defense Ministry released a video on Wednesday showing a freight train loaded with armored vehicles crossing a bridge across the Crimean, Black Sea Peninsula. Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014. He announced that more tank units were being placed in the train, so that they could be sent back to their permanent base after training exercises.

Russian fighter jets flew training flights over Belarus airspace on Wednesday, in the northern part of Ukraine’s neighborhood. Meanwhile, paramilitary forces practiced firing.

A senior U.S. administration official says Western nations have found that Russia has deployed an additional 7,000 troops near Ukraine.

“We have not seen any sign of withdrawal,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told ABC News. 

“He (Putin) can pull the trigger. He can pull it today, he can pull it tomorrow, he can pull it next week. “


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