Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov made a statement on Jan. 20 which has been perceived as a veiled threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Peskov expressed his concerns that implementation by the U.S. of new financial sanctions on Russia will encourage Ukrainian leadership to "start a new civil war," a remark which was interpreted in Ukraine as a threat of a Russian attack justified by a false-flag operation.
Russia maintains that the current conflict in Ukraine, ongoing since 2014, is a "civil war." This has been disproven by a large body of evidence showing direct Russian intervention.
Ukrainian and U.S. officials have reported that any further Russian invasion will most likely take place following a false-flag operation, which would seek to justify Russia's military actions.
"(New sanctions) can inspire completely erroneous hopes in the hot heads of some representatives of Ukraine's leadership, who can decide on the sly to start a new civil war in their country and try to solve the problems of the southeast by force. We are afraid in this regard," Peskov said on Jan. 20.
As negotiations between Russia and the West concluded without results, the focus has shifted to deterring a Russian invasion and providing Ukraine with military aid. The U.S., U.K. and several other European partners have increased military assistance to Ukraine this month.
Russia has massed over 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, along with thousands of tanks, artillery pieces and other technology. U.S. President Joe Biden stated that he believes a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent.
A large number of Russian troops have recently deployed to Belarus, supposedly for military exercises. This positioning will enable Russia to strike from multiple sides.