Russia Recalls Colin Powell’s Anthrax Vial Stunt Amid US Claims of Planned ‘False Flag’ in Ukraine
13:09 GMT 04.02.2022 (Updated: 19:41 GMT 19.10.2022)
© AP Photo / Elise Amendola / Colin Powell présente une fiole censée contenir de l'anthrax au Conseil de sécurité de lOnu
© AP Photo / Elise Amendola /
On Thursday, Pentagon and State Department officials told reporters that the US military had intelligence that Russia was working on fake videos of Ukrainian aggression in the Donbass region which could serve as a pretext for a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has dismissed the claims as absolute drivel.
Russia is “not surprised by the new ‘creative’ scenario” outlined by the Pentagon and the US State Department regarding Russia’s alleged plans to stage a false flag operation against Ukraine, given Washington’s mastery of such actions, the Russian Embassy in Washington has said.
“This is typical of the United States. The international community remembers the forgeries the USA used for their military interventions around the world, including the well-known vial of Colin Powell,” the Embassy tweeted.
Appearing before the United Nations Security Council in February 2003 to make the US case for war in Iraq, then-Bush-era Secretary of State Powell famously held up a model vial of anthrax, citing it as evidence of the kinds of chemical and biological weapons being created by Saddam Hussein’s regime. The US proceeded with its invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Weapons of mass destruction were never found, and Powell later dubbed the speech a “great intelligence failure.” His speech, and the famous image of him holding up the vial, has since become a universal symbol representing false pretexts serving as a justification for war.
The Russian Embassy’s tweets follow remarks by Department of Defence spokesman John Kirby on Thursday claiming that the Pentagon had “information” that Russia was preparing to “fabricate a pretext” which would allow it to invade Ukraine, with options purportedly including “planning to stage a fake attack by Ukrainian military or intelligence forces against Russian sovereign territory or against Russian-speaking people, to therefore justify their action” and recording a “very graphic propaganda video” to serve as fake evidence.
3 February 2022, 17:07 GMT
State Department spokesman Ned Price echoed Kirby’s claims about a Russian “propaganda video” in his own presser Thursday, but was confronted by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, who accused Price of getting into “Alex Jones territory” conspiracy theories of “crisis actors” and demanding sources. Price told the reporter that the US assertion about a Russian video fake was “derived from information known to the US government, intelligence information that we have declassified,” but provided no further details.
WATCH: Heated exchange between @APDiploWriter Matt Lee and @StateDeptSpox Ned Price on declassified information. pic.twitter.com/8TFJdSW4M6— CSPAN (@cspan) February 3, 2022
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blasted US officials over the “propaganda video” claims on Friday. “I have looked on the internet about some statements by the State Department that Russia is preparing fake videos of an alleged attack by Ukrainian troops on the Donbass. The delusional nature of such fabrications, and there are more and more of them every day, is obvious to any more or less experienced political scientist,” he said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov echoed the Russian foreign minister. “I wouldn’t recommend taking anyone’s word, especially that of the State Department, when it comes to these issues,” he said.
Dmitri Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, poked fun at Price over his exchange with Lee. “How rude of Matt Lee to ask @StateDeptSpox for evidence to back up allegations that bloody Russians plan a false-flag operation in Ukraine? How dare he? Doesn’t he known two rules: [1:] US officials never lie. [2:] When they do lie (like with WMD in Iraq), it’s for a noble cause,” the diplomat quipped.
4 February 2022, 12:15 GMT
Coincidentally, US officials' claims that Russia is preparing video fakes have been followed by reports coming out of the war-torn Donbass region in east Ukraine that Western media has been embedded with Ukrainian military units to create their own false reporting.
On Friday, a spokesman from the Lugansk People’s Militia – one of the two paramilitary forces fighting against Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine, announced that militia intelligence had detected the presence of media from the US, the UK and Estonia alongside the 95th brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces – with these media reportedly tasked with creating fake stories.
A spokesperson from the Donetsk People’s Militia also commented on the matter, alleging that “the absence of any evidence of aggression by the People’s Republics, much less Russia’s participation in the conflict, is pushing the West to shoot staged materials in order to create a false impression of the conflict in the Donbass.”
The back-and-forth claims about fake videos and provocations comes amid the broader tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine –and months of claims by the US and its allies that Moscow is preparing to invade its neighbour. The Russian side has vehemently dismissed these claims, accusing the West of deliberately pumping up tensions to justify the further buildup of NATO troops and equipment near Russia’s borders, and to rationalise new sanctions against Moscow.
On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that 1,000 US troops in Germany would be transferred to Romania, with 2,000 more to be redeployed from the continental United States to Germany and Poland. Polish officials announced late Thursday that the first troops from the new US contingent had already begun arriving in the country.
Trwa przygotowanie do przyjęcia sił głównych Brygadowej Grupy Bojowej z 82. Dywizji Powietrznodesantowej 🇺🇸. W 🇵🇱 jest już grupa przygotowawcza. Łącznie w ramach przerzutu przybędzie 1700 żołnierzy. To wyraźny sygnał sojuszniczej solidarności w odpowiedzi na sytuację na Ukrainie. pic.twitter.com/hvXX93kEuH— Mariusz Błaszczak (@mblaszczak) February 3, 2022