Russia prepares “false flag” operation in eastern Ukraine as pretext for invasion
U.S. intelligence officials determined that Russia was “laying the groundwork” to create a pretext to further invade Ukraine, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on January 14, 2022. Russia had launched a disinformation campaign about an imminent Ukrainian attack on Russian forces, while the Kremlin had sent operatives to sabotage Moscow-backed groups in Ukraine, Psaki said. Russia’s disinformation operation sought to blame the West for escalating tension, highlight Ukraine’s alleged humanitarian abuses, and encourage support for Russian troops. The White House reported seeing a 200 percent increase in the daily average of Russian-language content pushing those narratives from November to December of 2021.