The Russian government has accused Kiev of pulling a Gleiwitz-style stunt in its claim that Ukrainian troops destroyed a “Russian military column,” alleging that Kiev staged a false flag in order to demonize Moscow.
Earlier today, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that a “significant” number of Russian military vehicles were destroyed as they tried to cross into Ukraine last night. The allegations followed weeks of warnings and narratives in the media that Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine.
However, Russia rejected that the incident took place at all, even going so far as to assert that Kiev staged the whole episode in a bid to portray Russia as aggressors.
“No Russian military column that allegedly crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border at night or during the day ever existed,” said Major General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry.
Konashenkov went on to say that the best case scenario was that the whole incident was a “phantom” invented by Ukraine, but he also suggested Kiev could have even killed “refugees or their own servicemen” in order to pin the blame on Moscow.
“Such statements – based on fantasies, or journalists’ assumptions, to be precise – should not be subject for a serious discussion by top officials of any country,” Konashenkov added, referring to official statements made by Kiev.
The incident, whether genuine or staged, is being cited as a serious escalation in tensions between the two countries.
If Moscow’s claims are true that Kiev staged the incident, it bears some similarities to a false flag that was used by Nazi Germany to justify the invasion of Poland in 1939.
The Gleiwitz incident refers to a false flag operation carried out by the Nazis on 31 August 1939 during which SS troops staged an attack on a German radio station and then blamed Polish troops.
German operatives dressed in Polish military garb seized the radio station, located near the Polish border, before broadcasting a short propaganda message in Polish. They then killed concentration camp victims who were also dressed in Polish uniforms and left them at the scene, making the incident look like an act of Polish aggression. The very next day Germany invaded Poland, with Hitler citing the incident as one of the pretexts.
Nine days before the incident, Hitler had told his generals, “I will provide a propagandistic casus belli. Its credibility doesn’t matter. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth.”