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CNN premiere: US intelligence indicates Russia is preparing operation to justify invasion of Ukraine US intelligence indicates Russia is preparing operation to justify invasion of Ukraine

The official said the United States had evidence that officers were trained in urban warfare and the use of explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces.

The allegation echoes a statement released by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry on Friday, which said Russian special services were preparing provocations against Russian forces with the aim of trapping Ukraine. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan alluded to the intelligence during a briefing with reporters Thursday.

“Our intelligence community has developed information, which has now been downgraded, that Russia is preparing the ground for the possibility of fabricating the pretext for an invasion,” Sullivan said Thursday. “We saw this playbook in 2014. They are re-preparing this playbook and we will have, the administration will have, more details on what we see as this potential pose as a pretext to share with the press over the next 24 hours. “

The Ukrainian defense ministry said in a statement on Friday that “the military units of the aggressor country and its satellites are being ordered to prepare for such provocations.”

The US official said the Biden administration believed Russia could prepare for an invasion of Ukraine “which could lead to widespread human rights violations and war crimes if diplomacy fails to achieve its goals.”

“The Russian military plans to start these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could start between mid-January and mid-February,” the official said. “We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea.”

The United States has also seen Russian influence actors begin to prepare the Russian public for an intervention, the official said, including focusing on accounts of deteriorating human rights in Ukraine and the increased activism of Ukrainian leaders.

“During the month of December, Russian-language social media content covering these three stories grew to an average of almost 3,500 posts per day, a 200% increase from the daily average for November,” the manager noted.

This story is out and will be updated