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Tomorrow was *****: who and what said the day before February 24, 2022

In the early morning of February 24, 2022, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine. Prior to this, the intelligence services of Western countries repeatedly warned of the start of the “invasion”, but the Russian authorities denied this possibility. RTVI recalls who and what was officially declared at that time.

On November 22, 2021, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he saw Kiev’s “militant rhetoric” as evidence of its willingness to “transfer the conflict to a hot phase”.

On November 23, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov comments on reports of an alleged military invasion of Ukraine: he says they are informative lies and “a screen for Kiev’s aggressive aspirations to solve the problem of Donbass by force”.


On November 23, 2021, the Military Intelligence Service (SVR) of Russia calls the data on the concentration of military forces near the border “absolutely false”.

Moscow continued to deny plans for the outbreak of hostilities. “We have repeatedly stated at different levels that Russia will not attack anyone, that it is not developing any aggressive plans and that it is totally wrong to say otherwise. And it is totally wrong to associate any movement of the Russian armed forces on the territory of our country to such plans,” Peskov assured on November 23, 2021.

Russian Defense Ministry press service via AP

On Nov. 27, 2021, the US State Department said Washington was concerned about “large and unusual” Russian troop movements near Ukraine, which “could become the prelude to an invasion.”

On November 30, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that “there was talk of a possible entry of Russian troops into Ukraine at the beginning of the year, <...> but, as we see, it did not happen”.

On December 1, 2021, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Verkhovna Rada: “We cannot stop the war without direct negotiations with Russia. Today, all external partners have already recognized it, but some internal partners do not recognize it. We have to talk [с РФ]knowing that we have a strong and powerful army.

On the same day, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced the existence of information indicating that Russia was drawing up plans against Ukraine and deeply worried Washington. “Plans include attempts to destabilize Ukraine from within, as well as large-scale military operations,” he explained.

In mid-February 2022, the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov, in response to a question about plans to invade Ukraine, gives an answer that has become a meme:

“The war has been going on for eight years now, now is not the time to panic, to escalate the situation, to buy buckwheat and matches,” stressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, adding that Kiev “does not don’t want war.

“We have no intention of attacking Ukraine. We have no increased military activity near the Ukrainian borders. No preparations are underway for any offensive operation,” assured Konstantin Kosachev, vice-president of the Council of the Federation, on December 3, 2022.

On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he had decided to launch a special military operation against Ukraine, since the circumstances “demand decisive and immediate action from us, the people’s republics of Donbass turned to Russia with a request for help”. According to the Russian leader, all responsibility for the bloodshed will lie with the conscience of the ruling regime in Ukraine. He called on the Ukrainian military not to follow the criminal orders of the Ukrainian authorities, to lay down their arms and return home.

On the same day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered to “return to the path of peace”. He also turned to the West for help, warning that if he did not help Ukraine today, “tomorrow war will come to them”.

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