Ex-spy warns Putin could use special forces to wage ‘false flag’ attack on his own troops

Russia: Former spy discusses ‘false flag attacks’ by Putin

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Philip Ingram MBE, who worked in British military intelligence for over two decades said the horror “false flag” method is a tried and tested one of Vladimir Putin, which he said had been replicated in Georgia, Syria and Africa. It comes as concerns have soared of an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, who have over 100,000 troops and military hardware piled up on Ukraine’s border, as the West scrambles to negotiate peace following failed talks with the Kremlin.

Mr Ingram explained that elite members from Russia’s denied paramilitary Wagner Group, Spetsnaz operatives and GRU special forces units, who are sent in as “advance forces” into warzones, could be ordered to open fire on the Russian army and ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine to carry out such a “false flag attack” to generate an excuse to send troops forward.

The former spy warned this is a tactic Mr Putin has deployed before and is not afraid to use again.

Discussing the tactic, Mr Ingram said: “One-hundred percent he [Putin] could mobilise Spetsnaz… they are the ones that will do anything from operations like Salisbury [2018 poisoning], right through to military operations…

“The GRU led a lot of the way into Crimea, but the troops that are deployed beforehand are the Wagner Group.

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“They are current soldiers, who have been disavowed or temporarily retired of the GRU or Spesnaz, with former members that are brought together in a merceniary group, and put in as advance forces.”

He noted how stories of “little green men” entering Crimea before Crimea to Russia in 2014, and events taking place in different parts of Syria, are incidents which have involved the secretive groups.

Mr Ingram explained how such plans are part of Mr Putin’s “very sophisticated approach” to dealing with conflicts and meddling with events to suit his long-term strategy.

Analysing the current crisis in Ukraine and the strings the Russian premier could pull to turn events into his favour, the former spy said that one tell-tale sign that Mr Putin is ready to roll out his dirty tricks with his elite units would be an increase in rhetoric suggesting that “ethnic Russians inside Ukraine are being targeted”.

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He added how he would also expect increased rhetoric about threats into Belarus and that Mr Putin could also come up with something that will suggest there are “separatist organisations operating in Ukraine and in Russia”.

When this has been established, Mr Ingram said, Mr Putin could give the go ahead for a so-called “false flag” attack to back up his claims, but the former spy warned the Russian premier will not necesarilly stop at attacking his own troops.

He noted how Putin’s elite special forces units could even be used to launch fabricated “terror attacks” inside Russia and even on Russian citizens, as well as in Ukraine, in order for Mr Putin to falsely blame Ukraine and construct a fake narrative for war.

Mr Ingram said: “It would not surprise me if we saw terrorist-style attacks inside Ukraine, false flag, and even terrorist style attacks inside Russia itself, false flag, carried out by Wagner or GRU to give him an excuse to go across the border.”

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In a wide ranging interview, Mr Ingram also warned that it is likely Mr Putin will march further into Ukraine but this he said would not be a full scale invasion.

Instead, he suggested how the crazed Russian President could attempt to take Ukraine in “bitesize chunks” and gradually tap away, engulfing more territory in the country and work to influence the Government.

He also noted how Belarus poses a major forward strategic benefit for Mr Putin and his army to keep a frontier open to Europe.

It comes as Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has claimed he sees a “clearer path” to an understanding with Russia after crisis talks over Ukraine on Friday, but he warned Moscow that it would have to take the initiative and end threats of an invasion.

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