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Moscow says Kiev planned assault before invasion

Russia says secret January document shows Ukrainian National Guard planned to attack Donbass in March


Moscow has published documents allegedly showing a secret order for a Ukrainian offensive against Donbass in March 2022, a day before Ankara is set to mediate between the two sides.

The Russian Defense Ministry published on Wednesday a secret order for an offensive in Donbass in March 2022, according to TASS, with the Russian News Agency reporting the order had been issued by the commander of the Ukrainian National Guard.

Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said "the order, handed down to the commanding officers of the Ukrainian National Guard, contains a detailed plan for preparing a strike group to carry out an offensive in the area of the so-called ‘Joint Forces Operation’ in Donbass."

Konashenkov said the published documents showed “an original order issued by Commander of the Ukrainian National Guard Colonel General Nikolay Balan on January 22, 2022.”

The publication comes a week after Ukraine’s military posted on Facebook what it claimed to be a tactical map with invasion plans captured from Russians and seemingly stamped on 18 January 2022

"The document establishes a battalion tactical group of the National Guard’s Fourth Operational Brigade, ensures the provision of necessary supplies and re-subordinates it to the 80th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the major general said.

The spokesman also went on to argue that “since 2016, the brigade has been trained by US and British instructors in Lvov in accordance with NATO training programs.”

Media outlets reporting on the story said Ukrainian sources dismissed the document as a forgery, but no immediate statement was made by Kiev.

Moscow claims the documents contained original signatures of officials and was addressed to the heads territorial departments within the National Guard of Ukraine.

The news of the publication of the Ukrainian documents comes one day before Ankara is expected to mediate a meeting between Moscow and Kiev.

The publication also comes one week after Ukraine’s military Operational Group East posted on Facebook what it claimed to be a tactical map with invasion plans captured from Russia’s 810th Naval Infantry Brigade and seemingly stamped on 18 January 2022.

“Thanks to the successful actions of one of the units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Russian occupiers are losing not only their equipment and manpower. In a panic, they are leaving behind secret documents,” the Operational Group East wrote on March 2.

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