Ukraine war is ‘just days away’: Fears grow that Vladimir Putin will carry out fake attacks on his own troops to justify Russian invasion as British defense sources warn conflict ‘threatens’
- A Russian invasion of Ukraine in ‘inevitable’, Tobias Ellwood claimed last night
- House of Commons Defense Committee chairman said next week looks ‘critical’
- Footage from the Russian Defense Ministry showed what was called an inspection exercise
War in Ukraine is “inevitable” with a Russian invasion in just days, it was claimed last night.
It came after President Vladimir Putin gathered tens of thousands of troops at the border, with intelligence sources suggesting he could launch a covert attack on his own troops to justify the invasion of Ukraine.
Tobias Ellwood, Tory Chairman of the House of Commons Defense Committee, said: “I fear that an invasion by Russian forces is inevitable and imminent and we have allowed this to happen.
Prepare: Ukrainian soldiers fire an anti-tank missile during a military exercise this week as the country prepares for a possible invasion
“We had a chance to place enough military equipment and personnel in Ukraine to make President Putin think twice about an invasion, but we didn’t.
Only President Putin knows what he will do in the near future, but next week seems crucial.
“He has cornered himself and after NATO refused to bow to his threats, there seemed to be only one option left.”
The UK and US have rejected Russian requests to veto former Soviet republics joining NATO and have rejected calls for the removal of Western troops from Eastern Europe.
Footage released yesterday by the Russian Defense Ministry shows armored vehicles and other military equipment being loaded onto trains in what Moscow called an inspection exercise to practice long-range deployment.
Firepower: Russian troops conduct tests on tank weapons allowed for use in Ukraine
US-based military analyst Rob Lee said: “This is probably cover for the units being moved to Ukraine.”
In addition to troops already along the border, more Russian planes have flown into the region in recent days and satellite photos have confirmed the positioning of makeshift military hospitals — usually an indication that a land offensive will be staged.
Yesterday Moscow was blamed for a major cyber attack on Ukrainian ministries.
Russian hackers are said to have left horrifying messages on websites that read: ‘Ukrainians. Be afraid and expect worse. It’s your past, present and future.’
It followed the breakup of three series of peace talks this week. The US warned of a possible ‘false flag’ operation – with Russia falsely claiming that Ukraine had attacked its troops as an excuse to invade.
It has long been thought that part of Putin’s strategy is to claim that Ukraine is preparing to attack his forces. The Kremlin can then claim that its military action is being carried out in self-defense.
The US said it had information that Russia had already sent saboteurs to Ukraine with the intention of causing trouble.
In addition to the troops already along the border, more Russian planes have flown into the region in recent days and satellite photos have confirmed the positioning of makeshift military hospitals
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan claimed that Russia “laid the foundations of having the ability to devise a pretext for invasion.”
A US official said: “We have information indicating that Russia has already positioned a group of agents to conduct a false flag operation in eastern Ukraine.
“The agents are trained in urban warfare and in the use of explosives to conduct sabotage operations against Russia’s own proxy forces.”
A false flag operation is a disguised act with the intention of blaming another party.
Sullivan told reporters that Russia used similar tactics in 2014 when it took Crimea and supported an ongoing insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
Top US diplomat Michael Carpenter warned: “The drumroll of war is loud.”
The Daily Mail can reveal that RAF spy planes have set up surveillance flights in the region to monitor Russian troop movements and radio communications.
On Thursday, an RC-135 plane, packed with sensors and listening devices, flew over Ukraine’s southern coast. A Kremlin spokesman last night dismissed claims of an invasion as “baseless.”