Russia claims finding secret Ukrainian orders to attack separatist regions in March

The covert orders, allegedly dated January 22 and signed by National Guard of Ukraine commander Col.-Gen. Nikolai Balan, detail supposed preparations for operations in Donbas.

An activist holds Russia's national flag, during a rally at the war memorial complex Savur-Mohyla, damaged in the recent fighting with Ukraine's government forces,marking the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Donbas region,Ukraine September 8, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)
An activist holds Russia's national flag, during a rally at the war memorial complex Savur-Mohyla, damaged in the recent fighting with Ukraine's government forces,marking the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the Donbas region,Ukraine September 8, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

Russia claims it has found a secret document showing that Ukraine was planning a military offensive against the breakaway Donbas region in March, according to the Russian foreign and defense ministry. 

The covert orders, allegedly dated January 22 and signed by National Guard of Ukraine commander Col.-Gen. Nikolai Balan, detail supposed preparations for troops for joint forces operations in Donbas, the Russian foreign ministry said. 

"The document approves the organizational and staff structure of the battalion tactical group of the 4th operational brigade of the National Guard, the organization of its comprehensive support and reassignment to the 80th separate air assault brigade of Ukraine,"  Russian defense ministry Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, according to Russian media outlet TASS.

"I would like to emphasize that this unit of the air assault troops of Ukraine has been trained since 2016 by American and British instructors," he added.

"We remember the statements by the leadership of the Kyiv regime that there were no plans for an armed seizure of Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics," said the Russian foreign ministry on Wednesday morning. "The originals of the secret military documents of the National Guard of Ukraine clearly prove the falsity of these statements."

 RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin delivers a special address Thursday on Russian state TV, authorizing a military operation in Ukraine’s Donbass region.  (credit: REUTERS TV) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin delivers a special address Thursday on Russian state TV, authorizing a military operation in Ukraine’s Donbass region. (credit: REUTERS TV)

Russia has made several claims about Ukraine's actions against the rebel Donbas region, including president Vladamir Putin's claim prior to his country's invasion that Ukraine was conducting genocide against ethnic Russians.