"The military units of the aggressor country and its client states receive orders to prepare for such provocations. According to the military intelligence of Ukraine, on January 13, a service meeting was held at the 3rd Specialized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova, during which it was proved to the personnel that provocations were expected from Ukraine in the area of Kolbasna settlement (artillery units of the operational group of troops of the Russian Federation). There were no orders to bring the brigade to the highest degree of combat readiness, but the readiness of the personnel 'on the first command' to carry out tasks for their intended purpose was noted," the message posted on Facebook reads – Interfax-UKRAINE reported.
On the other hand the US has information that indicates Russia has prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine, a US official told CNN on Friday, in an attempt to create a pretext for an invasion.
Read more: Ukraines’ Government Websites Hit by Russia, NATO & EU Condemned the Cyberattack, NATO to Boost Cyber Defense Cooperation with Ukraine
The official in White House said the US has evidence that the operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia's own proxy forces.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the Defense Department has credible information indicating Russia has "prepositioned a group of operatives" to execute "an operation designed to look like an attack on them or Russian-speaking people in Ukraine" in order to create a reason for a potential invasion.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan alluded to the situation during a briefing with reporters on Thursday when he said the US intelligence community has information indicating "Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for an invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations."
"We saw this playbook in 2014. They are preparing this playbook again. And the administration will have further details on what we see as this potential laying of a pretext to share with the press over the course of the next 24 hours," he said as Anadolu Agency reported.
The US and its European allies have been warning that Russia appears to be setting the stage for an invasion with a massive military buildup on its border with Ukraine that includes some 100,000 troops. Russia has denied it is preparing to invade, and says its troops are there for exercises.
The official who spoke to Anadolu Agency said Russia is planning the false-flag operations "several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February."
Part of the groundwork that is being laid, includes what the official said is an information campaign from pro-Russia "influence actors" who are "already starting to fabricate Ukrainian provocations in state and social media to justify a Russian intervention and sow divisions in Ukraine."
"For example, Russian officials and influence actors are emphasizing narratives about the deterioration of human rights in Ukraine and the increased militancy of Ukrainian leaders," the official said."
"During December, Russian language content on social media covering all three of these narratives increased to an average of nearly 3,500 posts per day, a 200-percent increase from the daily average in November," the official added.
Earlier on Friday, unidentified hackers launched a coordinated attack targeting the servers of the Ukrainian government, shutting down among others the webpages of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and embassies across the world. Ukraine's government said that it appeared Russia was behind the attack. NATO & EU condemned the cyberattack, NATO, EU to boost cyber defense cooperation with Ukraine, US provide Ukraine with whatever support it needs to recover.