The CIA is combining with the spy service of a NATO ally in Europe to conduct covert sabotage operations inside Russia, according to new claims.
The clandestine campaign is behind many unexplained explosions and fires that have hit strategic or prominent facilities in recent months, says US expert Jack Murphy, an eight-year Army Special Operations veteran.
Separately other European intelligence services have allegedly been 'running operatives into Russia to create chaos without CIA help', as has Ukraine.
His claims follow as a new fire struck a shopping mall in Krasnodar region, in southern Russia, the latest in dozens of such incidents. It comes as Putin issued another chilling warning to the West on Christmas day.
In Ukraine today, air raid sirens have been going off around the country as some decide to move their Christmas day to avoid celebrating on the same day as Russia.
Oil and gas facilities, railways, fuel depots, power plants and shopping malls have been hit across Russia by mysterious explosions, with rumours of sabotage.
'The campaign involves long standing sleeper cells that the allied spy service has activated to hinder Moscow's invasion of Ukraine by waging a secret war behind Russian lines,' said Murphy in a post.
'The campaign is responsible for many of the unexplained explosions and other mishaps that have befallen the Russian military industrial complex since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.'
He cited anonymous US sources including three former intelligence and two military officials, and a sixth source 'who has been briefed on the campaign'.
The CIA has denied the allegations.
'The former officials declined to identify specific targets for the CIA-directed campaign, but railway bridges, fuel depots and power plants in Russia have all been damaged in unexplained incidents since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February,' wrote Murphy on his website.
No US officials were involved on the ground, he said, but the strikes had used an 'allied intelligence service' and were approved by US president Joe Biden, he asserted.
'While command and control over the sabotage program resides with the CIA for legal reasons, the NATO ally has a strong say in which operations go forward since it is their people taking the risks.'