Tension remains between the US and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. This Friday Ukraine suffered a massive cyberattack with a “Russian footprint”, and the North American country considers that Russia is trying to orchestrate an operation to create a pretext to enter the Eastern European country. All this after an intense week of diplomatic contacts in the EU with Moscow with few results.
Both from the White House and from the Pentagon, the US government considers that Russia has positioned a group of operatives to carry out what in US military jargon is called “a false flag operation” in eastern Ukraine.
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby explained at a news conference that it would be an operation “designed to look like an attack against them (the Russians) or their people, or people who speak Russian in Ukraine, as an excuse to enter” on Ukrainian soil.
The White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, assured, for her part, that these Russian operatives are trained in urban guerrilla warfare and in the use of explosives “to carry out acts of sabotage against the Russian forces themselves”, justifying such intervention.
Last December, EL ESPAÑOL reported that Russia was preparing for an offensive or a cyber attack on Ukraine as an excuse for the invasion, an argument now used by the United States to accuse the Kremlin of wanting to invade the neighboring nation.
The European Union, for its part, offered assistance to Ukraine in the face of the cyberattack that suffered early this Friday and that, according to its high representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, aggravate a very serious crisis.
“These actions are intended to destabilize Ukraine and contribute to the further escalation of an already tense situation“Borrell said at the press conference after the meeting that the EU foreign ministers held today in Brest (France).
The US launched these accusations against Moscow after a intense week of meetings in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna, in which Russian representatives have held meetings with American officials, as well as those of NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which have yielded few results.
Against this background, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has proposed to his American colleague, Joe Biden, to hold a trilateral meeting with Putin to reduce tension in the region, as announced by Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential office.
For his part, Putin has accused Zelensky of handing over the leadership of Ukraine to foreign hands, specifically the US, Germany and France.
The border tension between the two countries and the Ukraine’s aspiration to join NATO has focused the consultations held this week between Russia, the US and the Atlantic Alliance.
Moscow acknowledged that the US position on NATO’s eastward expansion remains “impenetrable” and said it would not wait “forever” for a response on security guarantees.
mix of individuals
According to the Pentagon, Russian operatives are “often hybrid” and would be a mix of individuals made up of intelligence and security agents and even soldiers.
Parallel to this alleged operation, Kirby pointed out that the US has indications that “Russian-influenced actors” have started spreading false provocations by Ukraine, both in state media and on social networks to invent a pretext for a raid.
According to the White House, Moscow intends to create the “narrative” that there is a deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and thus be able to “justify Russian intervention.”
These accusations coincide with the denunciations made today by Ukraine about a cyberattack on 70 web pages, several of them governmental, such as those of the Cabinet of Ministers or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which Kiev considers to have the “Russian footprint”.
Psaki also referred to this in his appearance before the media, where he warned that The US will take “the necessary measures” to “defend” Ukraine, although he did not directly point to Russia as being responsible for the computer sabotage.
Washington recalled that it is not the first time that it has seen Moscow act in this way, in reference to the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, and that now the ball is in the court of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When asked by journalists whether Putin was aware of these maneuvers, Kirby said that “it is difficult for this type of activity to be carried out without the knowledge, or without the approval, of the highest levels of the Russian government.”
Despite these accusations, Washington does not believe that Putin has already made the decision to attack Ukraine and expressed his preference that “diplomacy prevails”: “The Administration is not willing to abandon efforts to resolve this diplomatically,” Kirby said.
“If they decide they are going to invade Ukraine, the economic consequences go well beyond 2014 – when Russia invaded Crimea. If they decide they want to engage in diplomatic talks, we are very open,” the spokeswoman said.
The US offers military assistance to Kiev and there are currently some 200 Florida National Guard (USA) personnel in Ukraine – a reserve military corps – who are on a training mission.
“They are on a rotating mission of assistance and advice. It is something we have been doing for several years,” said Kirby, who did not want to clarify the future of these troops in the event of a possible Russian incursion.