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US says Russia is preparing ways to justify Ukraine attack

The foreign policy chief of the EU (seen above) spoke during a media conference on Friday. The EU prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months for failing to live up to its commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine, amid concern that Moscow may be preparing to invade its former Soviet neighbor.Thibault Camus/Associated Press

The Biden administration believes Russian actors are fabricating Ukrainian provocations in social media and preparing potential sabotage operations against Russian forces to justify an intervention and sow divisions in Ukraine, according to a US official who asked not to be identified.

President Vladimir Putin’s government is laying the groundwork to justify an attack, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing offensive operations, according to the person. The plan would likely be set in motion if diplomacy with the US, NATO and key European nations fail, according to the person.

The news follows a cyber attack that downed a wide range of Ukrainian government websites on Friday.