The Kremlin denied US media reports that Russia has drawn up a list of Ukrainians to capture or kill in the event of an invasion, Reuters reported on Monday morning.
According to Reuters, the Kremlin said that the allegation was an "absolute lie."
On Friday, Foreign Policy magazine reported that US intelligence services had obtained information that there was a list of Ukrainian politicians, activists, and Russian and Belorussian dissidents that Russia would target if they invaded Ukraine. The Biden administration was reportedly surprised about how the formalized lists were of those who could challenge Russian rule. These prominent individuals would be assassinated or captured, with the magazine reporting that the US was sharing this information to help alleviate the threat.
"Past Russian operations have included targeted killings, kidnappings/forced disappearances, detentions, and the use of torture, [and] would likely target those who oppose Russian actions, including Russian and Belarusian dissidents in exile in Ukraine, journalists and anti-corruption activists, and vulnerable populations such as religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQI+ persons,” an intelligence official reportedly told Foreign Policy.
Reuters reported on Monday that satellite images show multiple new field deployments of armored equipment and troops from Russian garrisons near the border with Ukraine. The images were released by US-based Maxar Technologies, a private US company, which said on Sunday that its director said indicated increased military readiness. Reuters did not independently verify the images and assessment.
The new activity comes as Russia extended military drills in Belarus that were due to end on Sunday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the move has made him more worried about an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.
However, Reznikov and other officials have downplayed the idea that there would be an attack in immediate days. On February 14, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent observers reeling with a statement, which later was clarified to be ironic, that Russian forces would invade on February 16.
"It can happen any day, as I said before," Zelensky said on February 12, of the supposed impending invasion. "We have different information, and now, the best friend for our enemies is panic in our country. And all of this only provokes panic and does not help us.Michael Starr contributed to this report.