US warns Russia could 'fabricate pretext' for invading Ukraine after massive cyberattack

Friday - 14/01/2022 23:39
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby described the intelligence that Russia could frame Ukraine as preparing an attack against Russian-backed forces as “very credible.”
Ukrainian tanks are transported towards to the Luhansk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Andriy Dubchak
Ukrainian tanks are transported towards to the Luhansk region, Ukraine, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. - Copyright AP Photo/Andriy Dubchak

US officials warned on Friday that a Russian effort is underway to create a pretext for its troops to invade Ukraine.

"We are concerned that the Russian government is preparing for an invasion in Ukraine that may result in widespread human rights violations and war crimes should diplomacy fail to meet their objectives," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki at a briefing.

"As part of its plans, Russia's laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for invasion."

The warning came after Ukrainian government websites were down following a "massive" cyberattack. Seven ministry websites were down as well as the cabinet, treasury, emergency service and state services websites.

A message on the website warned Ukrainians to "expect the worst".

Ukraine's foreign affairs spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said investigations were "ongoing" but that security services had obtained "preliminary indicators" suggesting hackers associated with Russian secret services were behind the attack.

US and Western officials have been concerned about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine for weeks, as tens of thousands of Russian troops have gathered at the neighbouring country's border.

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Author: Editors Desk

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 Keywords: Ukraine, Russia

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