MOSCOW (Dispatches) - Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday dismissed as “nonsense” allegations by the United States that Moscow was preparing a fake video as a pretext for starting a war in Ukraine, Russia’s RIA news agency reported.
U.S. intelligence agencies claim Russia has formed a plan to use a fabricated video showing the graphic aftermath of an explosion targeting Russian people as a pretext for an invasion, Washington said on Thursday.
The U.S. has not provided detailed information backing up the claims, which Moscow has vehemently denied.
French, German Leaders
to visit Russia
The French president and the German chancellor will head to Moscow and Kyiv in the coming weeks, adding to diplomatic efforts to find a way out of the growing tensions.
France’s Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to visit Moscow on Monday and Kyiv on Tuesday, while Germany’s Olaf Scholz will travel to Kyiv on Feb. 14 and Moscow on Feb. 15.
The high-level visits come as China has backed Russia’s demand that NATO be precluded from expanding to Ukraine.
While France is a major player in NATO and is moving troops to Romania as part of the alliance’s preparation for possible further tensions, Macron has also been actively pushing for dialogue with Putin and has spoken to him several times in recent weeks. The two will hold a one-on-one meeting Monday, Macron’s office said Friday.
Macron is following a French tradition of striking a separate path from the United States in geopolitics, as well as trying to make his own mark on this crisis and defend Europe’s interests.
Germany has emphasized the importance of various diplomatic formats in tackling the tensions and has refused to send weapons to Ukraine, irking some allies. Scholz also has faced criticism at home lately for keeping a low public profile in the crisis.