Russia is believed to be planning a series of fake attacks on its own cities, with the aim of blaming it on Ukraine and justifying a general mobilisation of troops.
Exiled Russian politician Ilya Ponomarev, 46, was the only Russian politician to vote against Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
He now argues that the plot – which has reportedly been leaked by a security source – will be blamed on Ukrainian saboteurs and will be used to justify a general mobilisation in order to compensate for the crippling losses Russia has faced so far during its invasion of Ukraine.
The 46-year-old said: “After the failure of the blitzkrieg in Ukraine, Moscow faced the problem of an acute shortage of personnel to compensate for the losses incurred.”
“At the same time, the state leadership has repeatedly insisted that a general mobilisation will not be introduced.
“In order to play back on this issue, a very weighty pretext is needed: the deaths of thousands of civilians, which can be blamed on Ukraine.”
It was an echo of the alleged bombing of Russian homes in 1999 triggering the Second Chechen War, which also helped usher Putin into the Kremlin.
The exiled politician claimed the FSB (Russia's Federal Security Service) is planning to target chemical and oil plants in the false-flag attacks, with the Voskresensk Mineral Fertilisers chemical plant – Europe's largest producer of phosphate-based fertilisers – and the Moscow oil refinery in Kapotnya among the priority targets.
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Ponomarev said: “A source close to the Russian law enforcement agencies told Utra February [Russian anti-war group] that the Federal Security Service is preparing an explosion at a chemical or oil refinery near Moscow or another large Russian city in such a way that the wind carries toxic substances to residential areas.
“As a result, hundreds, and possibly thousands of people should die. It is planned to blame Ukrainian saboteurs for this."
He added: “More than 20 enterprises are considered as sabotage [targets], but the Voskresensk Mineral Fertilisers chemical plant and Moscow oil refinery in Kapotnya are the priority ones.
“Explosions at these enterprises, which are located in residential areas, could lead to numerous casualties.
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“In addition, both of these sites are located southeast of the centre of the Russian capital, and with a southeast wind, a poisonous cloud could cover the entire city.”
He continued: “Explosions are also possible in public places, in particular, in the underground train network.”
A senior NATO military officer yesterday said that Russia has suffered between 30,000 and 40,000 battlefield casualties in Ukraine through the first month of the war, including between 7,000 and 15,000 killed.
Despite mobilising a force of between 150,000 and 200,000 Russian troops, Moscow failed to anticipate anything other than weak resistance by the Ukrainian forces.
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