What to know about the growing fear of war


THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The United States has obtained intelligence indicating that the Russian government has hatched a plan to stage a fake Ukrainian attack to establish a pretext for military action, according to a senior government official. Biden administration.

The United States released the intelligence in another day of diplomatic efforts to prevent simmering tensions from escalating into war.

After talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered to mediate between Kyiv and Moscow by organizing talks.

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, meanwhile, expressed concern that Russia continues to increase the number of troops along Ukraine’s borders, including in Belarus.

Here are things to know Thursday about international tensions surrounding Ukraine, which has at least 100,000 Russian troops massed along its borders.


US intelligence indicates that the Russian government has hatched a plan to stage a fake attack that would depict the Ukrainian military or its intelligence forces attacking Russian territory, a senior Biden administration official said Thursday.

The plan includes the production of a graphic propaganda video that would show staged explosions and use dead bodies and actors portraying mourners, according to the official, who was not authorized to comment and spoke under cover of ‘anonymity.

The plan, which has come to light in declassified intelligence shared with Ukrainian officials and European allies in recent days, is the latest allegation by the United States and Britain that Russia is plotting to use a false pretext to enter. at war with Ukraine.

The White House fears the video, if released, could provide Putin with the “spark” he thinks he is looking for to credibly trigger military action.

__ By Nomaan Merchant and Aamer Madhani in Washington.



Erdogan again offered to host talks between Moscow and Kyiv aimed at easing tensions that have sparked fears of war.

“Turkey is ready to do its part in order to end the crisis between two friendly nations that are its Black Sea neighbors,” he said at a joint press conference with Zelenskyy.

“Instead of fueling the fire, we are acting with the logical aim of reducing tensions,” Erdogan said, offering to hold a meeting “at the management level or talks at the technical level.”

He reiterated Turkey’s attachment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Putin met with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez in Moscow and then spoke by phone with Macron, who had a call Wednesday evening with US President Joe Biden. Macron then spoke with Zelenskyy.

The calls were part of Macron’s efforts to “continue the dialogue to identify elements that could lead to de-escalation”, according to Macron’s office. They spoke of efforts to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine and “the conditions for a strategic balance in Europe, which should make it possible to reduce the risks on the ground and guarantee security on the continent”.

— By Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, and Angela Charlton in Paris.



Stoltenberg told reporters at NATO headquarters that Moscow has deployed more troops and equipment to Belarus than at any time in the past 30 years.

The NATO chief said Russian forces in Belarus are expected to grow to 30,000, including special forces, backed by fighter jets and missiles.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on Thursday to monitor preparations for the major Russian-Belarusian war games set to take place from February 10-20.

Stoltenberg again called on Russia to “de-escalate” and repeated warnings from the West that “any further Russian aggression would have grave consequences and exact a heavy price.”

— By Lorne Cook in Brussels and Dasha Litvinova in Moscow.



French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed on Thursday that Paris is sending troop reinforcements to Romania under NATO command, as part of France’s commitment to the alliance and its member states. from Eastern Europe.

He did not specify how many French soldiers will be deployed. The announcement came a day after the United States announced it was moving troops stationed in Germany to Romania.

Le Drian told a news conference in Bucharest that moving troops to NATO’s eastern flank should not disrupt diplomatic efforts to ease tensions over Ukraine.

“The real goal here is de-escalation and everything must be done to achieve that as soon as possible,” Le Drian said. “How do we get there? By dissuading and talking.

Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said the two-pronged approach of military deterrence and diplomacy was the only way to ease boiling tensions and avert war.



Ukraine’s defense minister calls for calm, saying the likelihood of a Russian invasion is “low”.

Oleksii Reznikov said the threat of attack had hung over the country since 2014, the year Russia seized Crimea, but he added: “There is no reason to panic, fear, to flee or to pack”.

The minister said there were around 115,000 Russian troops near the Ukrainian border, including those deployed in Belarus for war games, but he said no battle groups had been detected along the border between Ukraine and Belarus.

He also reiterated earlier assurances that Kiev was not planning to attack rebel-held areas in war-torn eastern Ukraine or Crimea – something the Kremlin accused Kiev of plotting.

— By Yuras Karmanau in Kiev.



After his meeting with Fernandez, Putin travels to Beijing on Thursday evening to strengthen Moscow’s ties with China and coordinate their policies in the face of Western pressure.

An ice hockey fan, Putin will also attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on Friday.

His talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday will be their first face-to-face since 2019 and will help cement a strong personal relationship that has been a key factor in the growing partnership between the two former communist rivals.

Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, said the visit would mark a new stage in a Russian-Chinese partnership which he described as “a key factor contributing to sustainable global development and helping to counter the destructive activities of some countries. “.

Ushakov stressed that China supports Russia in the current standoff over Ukraine.

— By Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow.


Follow all AP stories on Russia-Ukraine tensions at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine


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