Moscow plans for Ukraine ‘ruined’ after US and Britain call out possible invasion

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Revelations by Britain and the US about the threat of a new Russian invasion of Ukraine are “ruining” Moscow’s plans, the Ukrainian deputy defence minister has said.

Hanna Maliar said the risk of an attack remained – but that the act of calling out suspected Russian schemes was a way to combat them.

“It’s important to understand that when we or our western partners name the date of the possible invasion, we are ruining their plans,” she told Sky News in an interview on Thursday in Kyiv.

A Russian service member walks past T-72B3 main battle tanks during drills held by the armed forces of the Southern Military District at the Kadamovsky range in the Rostov region, Russia February 3, 2022. REUTERS/Sergey Pivovarov
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A Russian service member walks past T-72B3 main battle tanks during drills held in the Rostov region

“And the dates that were already told in public – it’s ruined plans, nothing will happen in these days. But the danger still exists.”

London and Washington have been sounding the alarm about the threat of a new attack by Russia against Ukraine since last November – despite repeated denials from Moscow.

Read more: ‘We need to get used to this’: Ukrainians fatalistic about latest Russian threat

In the latest revelation, the New York Times reported on Thursday that the United States has intelligence about a Russian plan to fabricate a pretext for an invasion, using a bogus video that would build on recent disinformation campaigns.

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Russia has placed more than 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, but Vladimir Putin has denied he is planning an attack.

The newspaper said the plot was based on staging and filming a fake attack by the Ukrainian armed forces either on Russian territory or against Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine.

The UK has also made public declassified intelligence – thought to have been US-led intelligence – to expose what the foreign office said last month was an indication that the Russian government was plotting to install a puppet regime in Kyiv.

British, US and other NATO leaders have repeatedly pointed to a massing of more than 100,000 troops – the latest figures from the Ukrainian side was between 115,000 to 130,000 – around Ukraine’s borders as an indication of planned Russian aggression.

Paratroopers with the US Army, 82nd Airborne Division prepare for deployment to Eastern Europe amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, U.S., February 3, 2022. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
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US Army paratroopers prepare for deployment to Eastern Europe amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia

Ukraine’s information minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, likened the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s government to a robber who, if ignored, will steal from you.

“The behaviour of Russian propaganda and Russian power is the behaviour of a robber,” he told Sky News in the Ukrainian capital.

Read more: Russia accused of plotting to install pro-Kremlin leader to head Ukraine’s government

“When you meet a robber on the street, the best thing you can do is start talking.

“As soon as western leaders and western media are talking about this (the Russian threat to Ukraine), it is important to stop further development of the situation,” Mr Tkachenko said.

Ukrainian service members of the Air Assault Forces attend military drills in Lviv region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released February 1, 2022. Press service of the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Ukrainian service members of the Air Assault Forces attend military drills in Lviv region, Ukraine

“While you are talking, you are in peace.”

Asked whether he thought there would have already been an invasion by Russia had western allied stayed silent, the minister said: “As a typical robber if he does not see defence or at least does not see talking, he will act.”

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