Where Did Zelensky’s Reference To The “Feb.16 Russian Invasion” Day Come From?

As we detailed earlier, during the Monday evening speech by Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy - which was intended to calm fears of the West's predicted "imminent" Russian invasion - he made a passing reference to "February 16" being the "day of the attack". Naturally this triggered an avalanche of rapid, breathless US media reports saying Wednesday is the day the invasion will begin, combined with the fact that Zelesnkiy declared the same day a special "day of unity" for the Ukrainian nation. 
"We are told that February 16 will be the day of the attack," he had said, according to a translation. But as it turns out, he was in a sense stating just the opposite. While continuing to urge calm among the citizenry, and after previously chastising foreign media for stoking panic, this was another instance of gently mocking foreign hyped reports.
Yet it was widely presented as his literal words. Officials with his administration had to scramble to correct the misunderstanding. "Ukrainian officials told reporters in Kyiv that Zelensky was not being literal about an attack on Wednesday - though that day has circulated in news reports as a possible opening day of a Russian campaign on Ukraine," The Hill explained. "Zelensky and Ukraine's government have criticized the United States at times for over-stating the danger of an imminent Russian invasion of the country."
So then the question remains: what information was Zelenskiy referring to, particularly when he said "We are told..." that Wednesday would be the day the Russians attack? The Hill suggests he could have been referencing the latest Associated Press attempt to relay the predictions of anonymous US intelligence officials:

The Associated Press, citing intelligence obtained by the U.S., reported that Russia was eyeing Wednesday as the target date for an attack.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Monday "we still don't believe that some final decision has been made."Asked about Zelensky's statement and the mention of Feb. 16, Kirby said "I'm not going to talk about specific intelligence assessments, I think you can understand that. We have said for a while now that military action could happen any day."

But days ago Germany's largest news website Der Spiegel reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had briefed NATO partners over an "imminent" Russian attack on Ukraine, and the report said the CIA specified Wednesday, Feb. 16 as the kick-off date for invasion.
So it appears the CIA is the source of the story, as Spiegel wrote last Friday (based on a machine translation):

According to SPIEGEL information, both the US secret service CIA and the US military informed the federal government and other NATO states over the course of Friday that, based on new information, there were fears that the attack could take place as early as next Wednesday.
According to several diplomats and military officials, the United States gave many details about the secret briefings. Routes for the Russian invasion were specifically described, as well as individual Russian units and what tasks they were to take on. February 16 was given as the possible date for the start of the invasion. What information the sharp US warning is based on was initially not known in Berlin.

The reports stressed that the intelligence shared with Berlin and NATO officials was "very detailed and supported by many sources." After weeks, this appears the first reference to any level of potential evidence, or at least detailed enough claims to appear more plausible.

So last Friday afternoon's panicked headlines appear to be sourced to the CIA and US intelligence's assessment, which appear to also underlie alarmist predictions issued by the White House... 

But also interesting is that the Spiegel report which seems to have informed Zelenskiy's passing reference to February 16, fully admits this might be entirely for disinformation purposes. The German publication wrote: "A point in time around mid-February had long been considered plausible. However, insiders also believe it is possible that the USA deliberately spread the information in order to torpedo the Russian attack plans."
Given the Ukrainian president referenced the Feb.16 timeframe, but also at the same time dismissed its plausibility or likelihood in a sarcastic way - it seems he himself may be convinced that the initial reports that were sourced to the CIA are but disinformation - part of Washington and Russia's ongoing information warfare targeting the other.

This further might give some much needed context to the constantly shifting alarmist predictions coming out of the White House, flip-flopping and constant shifting of timelines. Not for the first time, the deep state and US intelligence are busy planting false information, possibly toward provoking an incident that could trigger the threatened "mother of all sanctions" against Russia and Putin.
via zerohedge

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