Russia is planning to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine, by falsely blaming Ukrainian military for an attack on Russian-backed separatists or Russia itself, US officials say, writes BBC.
One option Russia is said to be considering is to stage and film a fake attack, with graphic images of an explosion showing numerous casualties.
In response, Russia said it was not planning any false flag operations.
The US and NATO are concerned at the massing of Russian forces near Ukraine.
Russia denies planning to invade, saying the troops are there for drills. They currently number about 100,000.
The tensions come eight years after Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula and backed a bloody rebellion in the eastern Donbas region.
Senior US administration officials said the alleged false flag operation, planned by Russian security services, would show images of civilian casualties in the Donbas, in order to generate outrage against the Ukrainian authorities.
This could then be used to justify an attack on Ukraine, the officials said.
The plan could involve staging and filming a faked attack, they said.
It would show corpses and destroyed locations, faked Ukrainian military equipment, Turkish-made drones and actors playing Russian-speaking mourners, they said.