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‘Russia is looking for an excuse to invade Ukraine’ – but US insists week of diplomacy didn’t fail | world news

Russia has “put its saboteurs inside Ukraine” and is planning a “false flag” operation to create a pretext to invade Ukraine.

This is the US intelligence assessment, declassified by the White House after a week of faltering diplomacy.

Speaking to Sky News, US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said the Russians were looking for an excuse to invade.

Ukraine is 99.9% sure that Russia is behind a massive cyberattack targeting government websites

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A member of the Ukrainian armed forces stands guard at battle positions near the separation line of Russian-backed rebels near Horlivka in the Donetsk region

“It’s straight out of the Russian playbook: trying, through sabotage operations, through false flag operations, blaming the other guy, to create this pretext, to give an excuse to come in, or to to make it look like the Ukrainians were the aggressors, when in fact the first aggression may even have been committed by Russians against Russians, to blame the Ukrainians,” she said.

“So everything is very dangerous in the way they operate.”

“Extremely worrying”

Ms. Nuland is a seasoned diplomat and former US Ambassador to NATO. She focused on Ukraine under three US presidencies and called this moment extremely dangerous.

“It’s extremely worrying. You know, a nation doesn’t deploy 100,000 troops to another nation’s border and place its saboteurs inside the country without malicious and aggressive intent. It’s a very expensive, difficult and dangerous. So why now?”

But reflecting on the past week of diplomacy, she insisted it had not been a failure.

“I would say that in the first place the Russians came to the table, in the US-Russian format, in the format of the NATO-Russia Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), where the Ukrainians also sit.

Talks between the West and Russia reach an impasse and the risk of war remains

Ukrainian soldiers patrol the Belarusian border
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Ukrainian soldiers patrol the Belarusian border

“They were fortunate to hear from all of us and in particular in NATO they heard a unified message from 30 allies including the UK saying ‘Let’s solve all problems through diplomacy, not war. “No one needs it now.”

Is America ready to go to war?

When asked if America was prepared to go to war with Russia if it invaded Ukraine, Ms Nuland replied: “What we are talking about here is helping the Ukrainians defend themselves and prepare massive consequences – economic and political – for Moscow if it walks away from the diplomatic table and chooses aggression instead. And we all have to do that; we cannot allow countries to change international borders by strength; we’ll have a book for everyone out there in the world.

She dismissed the hypothesis that sanctions failed during the Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.

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“I participated in the preparation and implementation of the consequences for Russia [in 2014]. At the beginning of this, I remind you, it seems that Moscow and its proxies were going to go all the way to Kiev, and they stopped long before that. Now they have taken over Crimea, obviously, which has been a tragedy for Ukraine and international stability.”

She continued: “What we are preparing this time is much more serious and painful for Russia economically in terms of its potential complete economic isolation from the global financial system, as well as its political isolation.”

Along the eastern flank of Europe, soldiers of the Russian army continue to mass – 100,000 of them.

Russian soldiers took part in military exercises as Westerners fear an invasion of Ukraine
Picture:
Russian soldiers took part in military exercises as Westerners fear an invasion of Ukraine

Russia dismisses concerns

Russia insists their presence is part of an exercise. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the false flag accusations as nonsense and said the suggestions were unfounded and “confirmed by nothing”.

Russian diplomats say the aggressor is NATO – an eastward advancing alliance that must be countered. Among the Kremlin’s demands are the withdrawal of NATO forces from new NATO member states and a commitment that Ukraine will never join NATO.

The Russian Ambassador to the OSCE said this week: “If we do not hear a constructive response to our proposals within a reasonable time and the aggressive behavior towards Russia continues, we will have to take the necessary steps to ensure strategic balance and eliminate unacceptable threats to our national security.”

NATO has nothing to blame Russia for unless Russia comes for us

Ms. Nuland dismissed the idea that NATO is an aggressor.

Members of Ukraine's Border Guard Service attend a training session near the border with Belarus and Poland in Volyn region, Ukraine November 16, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Members of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service attend a training session near the border with Belarus and Poland, November 2021

“NATO is a defensive military alliance designed to defend the interests and territory of its members…NATO has nothing against Russia unless Russia comes for us. We have lived side by side since end of the cold war. , about 30 years. In fact, NATO never even deployed its own forces in the new member states before Russia invaded Ukraine.

“So Russia has created and achieved exactly the outcome that they say they don’t want because of their own aggressive actions, so they need to think about that before they move this time.”

Read more:
Most signs point to Putin having an invasion plan – but could he be thinking twice?
Ukraine’s growing reserve army ‘getting ready’ amid fears of Russian attack

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