“The DIU of the State Security Service is authorized to state that the military intelligence of Ukraine has information about the mining of a number of social infrastructure facilities in Donetsk by Russian special services in order to further undermine them,” the Defense Intelligence organization of Ukrainian government said in a statement late Friday, implying that Russia is plotting a false flag operation.
“These measures are aimed at destabilizing the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of our state and creating grounds for accusing Ukraine of terrorist acts,” it added.
“The Defence Intelligence of the State Security Service of Ukraine urges Donetsk residents not to leave their homes and not to use public transport.”
On Wednesday, the White House warned that Russia could invade Ukraine at any time using a fabricated pretext or a false flag operation.
"We're in the window where we believe an attack could come at any time and that would be preceded by a fabricated pretext that the Russians use as an excuse to launch an invasion," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a news conference. "And we've seen and we've talked about this a bit in here. We've seen these tactics used in the past."
Her remarks came one day after Russian defense officials reported that some military units were leaving their positions near Ukraine's border. But U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the U.S. does not see any "meaningful pullback" of Russian troops.
Earlier on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia's claims it was pulling forces back from the border are false, adding that "on the contrary, we see additional forces going to the border including leading edge forces that would be part of any aggression."
Blinken also said that everything Washington has seen happening on Russia's border with Ukraine in the past 24 to 48 hours is part of a scenario of creating false provocations designed to elicit a response.
Washington has estimated that some 30,000 Russian troops have been deployed at neighboring Belarus as part of joint exercises that are due to run until Sunday.
Those drills as well as other large-scale exercises near Ukraine have fueled concerns in European capitals and Washington that Moscow is preparing an attack on its neighbor.
Russia has denied any plans and accused Ukraine of breaching cease-fire agreements in the east of the country, where the army is fighting pro-Moscow separatists.