State Department spokesman Ned Price expressed skepticism on Saturday about Russian reports of a car bomb attack in a separatist-controlled region in eastern Ukraine, pointing evidence of continued Russian disinformation campaigns to fabricate a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine.

Russian-backed news agencies said the vehicle belonged to a senior member of a separatist group. The vehicle was then unoccupied and no one was injured in the explosion, Reuters reported.

“We are seeing increasing evidence that Russian disinformation is being used as a pretext for a possible Russian attack on Ukraine,” Price said. wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “Today the people of Donetsk calm reported despite Russian claims of a car bomb.

President Biden said on Friday that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, had “made the decision” to strike Ukraine, warning against Kremlin-orchestrated false flag operations in the coming days as a pretext for an attack. Speaking at a security conference in Munich on Saturday, Vice President Harris echoed those warnings.

“There is a playbook on Russian aggression,” Harris told heads of state and government, foreign dignitaries and a large delegation from the United States. “And this playbook is too familiar to all of us. Russia will plead ignorance and innocence. This will create a false pretext for the invasion. And he will amass troops and firepower for all to see.

Even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – who has previously expressed frustration that gloomy predictions by US military and intelligence officials about an impending invasion are hurting Ukraine’s economy – acknowledged on Saturday that the troops Putin had amassed along the border were on the lookout for any exploitable provocation. , and that “a bombardment, a cannon shot, can lead to war”.