We Finally Know What Putin Planned for a False Flag Op Against Ukraine
Shannon Vavra – February 18, 2022
Russian news agencies are amplifying claims that they have prevented an attempt from Ukraine to explode a chlorine gas tank in separatist territory, Horlivka, in what experts say appears to be the latest attempt from Russia to claim Ukraine is the aggressor and create a pretext to invade.
Ukrainian intelligence warned last month of this very prospect. Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency warned that Russia was preparing to use the presence of chemicals in the same location, Horlivka, as a pretense to attack or advance its aggression against Ukraine.
The news comes just as fears around the world mount that Russia might claim a pretext—and even fabricate one—to invade Ukraine. And at this hour, concerns appear higher than ever that Russia might be poised to launch an all-out assault on Ukraine. Russian media has claimed in recent hours there was an explosion in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), in what could be the long-awaited false flag operation from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Claims are circulating that the explosion was a car bomb targeting the head of Donbas regional security, Denis Sinenkov.
In just the last several hours, the cadence of bad news coming from Russia has picked up. Russian-backed forces have been shelling targets in Eastern Ukraine and there is little evidence Russia is pulling back forces as it has claimed. The news of the car bomb comes just after the DNR in Eastern Ukraine announced an evacuation due to an alleged imminent attack coming. The Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) has also ordered an evacuation, according to Reuters.
The head of the DNR Denis Pushilin claims the reason for the evacuation is that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelesnky is plotting an offensive soon. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in an address that claims Ukraine is planning an attack are false. Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement, “we categorically refute Russian disinformation reports on Ukraine’s alleged offensive operations or acts of sabotage in chemical production facilities.”
U.S. officials have been warning for weeks that Russian leadership is seeking out some kind of pretext for invasion, and in some cases will use its own saboteurs to create a justification to pull the trigger and attack, a senior administration official told The Daily Beast.
And this looks like it fits the bill, as it could create the perfect justification Putin can bring back home to justify an attack, Doug London, a former Senior Operations Officer in the CIA’s Clandestine Service, told The Daily Beast.
On some level, Putin “needs to show the Russian people that he’s standing up for their security, fighting evil, that the threat is genuine, that everything Russia’s doing is not to start a war, but because ‘we’re the victims here and we’ve got to protect ourselves,’” London said.
In recent days the Biden administration has been working to expose just exactly how Russia is planning to create a pretext to invade, according to U.S. intelligence agencies’ collection, in an attempt to destabilize Putin’s plans for invasion. In one case, the Biden administration released information alleging Russia was plotting to produce propaganda videos with graphic images of corpses.
Ukraine’s earlier attempt to call out Russia’s plans in Horlivka in advance of Russian claims about Horlivka and chemicals fit right into that playbook, experts say.
“Everything that we’re seeing … is part of a scenario that is already in play of creating false provocations, of then having to respond to those provocations, and ultimately committing new aggression against Ukraine,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken said Friday at the Munich Security Conference of the recent escalations.
Western attempts to quickly declassify intelligence information on Russia’s internal plans and make them public might not prevent Putin from invading, but the efforts could alter Putin’s game plans, putting him back on his haunches and at a disadvantage, London said.
“It certainly puts them in a difficult position because basically we’re calling the shots. If we’re putting out predictive material that’s borne out by Russian actions or statements,” it shows ”we’re anticipating and acting to shape events through insight, and now the Russians are deliberating, ‘well do we still go through with it or not, and if we do can we control escalation and the narrative, and if we don’t, have we lost credibility?’”
The ultimate outcome would be to set Putin back and trip him up just as he’s going in for the jugular, said London.
“Then we may be impacting Putin’s timeline and undermining his credibility,” said London, who recently published a memoir on his time in the CIA, The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence. “It forces him to respond, seizing the initiative, so he’s becoming more reactive, adding pressure to Russian decision making.”
For now, Pushilin seems convinced war is here. When asked Friday if a war is beginning, his answer?