Ukraine Warns Of Staged Provocation On Crimea As Separatists Call For Russian Aid Against “Aggression”

Ukraine’s military intelligence service claimed late on Wednesday that it had received intelligence pointing towards a possible “provocation” on Russia-occupied Crimea that would be used to justify a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement, the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said that it had learned that all 50 staff members of the Titan chemical plant’s night shift had been ordered to evacuate the facility in Armiansk at 8PM local time. The intelligence service said that information it possessed pointed towards several possible scenarios for a staged provocation at the plant in northern Crimea, including a terrorist attack or sabotage of chemicals that would then be blamed on Ukraine. The Directorate declared that Ukraine had not planned to conduct any such actions, preemptively denying any allegations that may be made in the coming hours.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter that the reports of the provocation were “worrying”. “This might be a preparation for another staged provocation by Russia. Moscow seems to have no limits in attempts to falsify pretexts for further aggression.”

Shortly after the statement by the Main Intelligence Directorate, Russian press services reported that the Kremlin had received letters to Putin from the leaders of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics to “help beat back the aggression of the Ukrainian armed forces to avoid victims among the civilian population and a humanitarian catastrophe in the Donbas”.

Russian-backed separatist forces have increased artillery strikes on civilian and military infrastructure alike around the Line of Contact separating the so-called Republics and Ukrainian held territory since last week, with rocket artillery now regularly used in an apparent attempt to elicit a response from Ukrainian forces that would “justify” an offensive by Russian troops now deployed to separatist-held territory.

Efforts to elicit an Ukrainian reaction, however, have failed, with separatists now resorting to extremely crude staged attacks that have been credulously reported on by Russian news services in a bid to provide pretext for an invasion. Ukraine’s State Security Service has since released what it says are intercepted communications proving that the separatists have been shelling civilian structures in separatist-held territory and a border guard post on the Russian border in false flag attacks that would then be blamed on Ukrainian forces.

This evening the Ukrainian government also announced a state of emergency. The 30-day state of emergency was approved by Ukraine’s parliament and will go into effect at midnight, local time. While the measures stop short of martial law it enables additional controls and restrictions on public demonstrations, information and movements. Additionally, Ukraine has also begun calling up its military reservists.