Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday that the U.S. doesn’t have “firm indications” that Russia is planning a so-called “false flag” operation to justify use of chemical or biological weapons, but that it is something officials think “could happen that we want to watch out for.”
“We’re watching this as closely as we can,” Kirby said during a briefing, adding that he didn’t have anything specific to report on Russian chem-bio capabilities inside Ukraine.
“We continue to watch for the potential — and I want to stress the word potential — that they could be banging this drum with the intent of creating some sort of false flag event that they could use as an excuse to escalate the conflict even more,” he continued. “I don’t have any specific indication now to talk about, but it is something we’re concerned about.”
Kirby described how Russia possesses a biochemical weapons program and has a “reputation” for using such weapons in the past.
As for concerns that Russia was planning a false flag of a Ukrainian attack in Belarus Friday, Kirby said he had seen the claims by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry but had nothing to corroborate them.
Ukraine’s air force claimed Friday that Russia did carry out an alleged false flag airstrike in a Belarusian village near the border with Ukraine.