Before the Russian full-scale attack on Ukraine, a number of Russian officials made statements to assuage fears of an imminent invasion:
Washington — Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov denied Sunday that the Kremlin is preparing for an invasion of neighboring Ukraine, despite a build-up of roughly 150,000 Russian forces and U.S. intelligence that Russian commanders have received orders to proceed. "There is no invasion, and there [are] no such plans," Antonov said in an interview with "Face the Nation." (Source)
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov emerged from the nearly eight hours of talks and declared, "There are no plans or intentions to attack Ukraine." He went on to say, "There is no reason to fear some kind of escalatory scenario." (Source)
However, I am not sure they really lied. Maybe they were not aware of Putin's plans and believed Russia was not going to attack.
Putin himself apparently avoided making any promises not to attack. For example, in December 2021 he dodged a direct question as to whether there was going to be a war with Ukraine.
So, did any Russian official really lie that Russia was not going to attack? What I am looking for is two things: (i) a statement by a Russian official that Russia was not going to attack and (ii) evidence that the official knew, or is highly likely to have known, that he or she wasn't telling the truth.
I understand that no ultimate proof may be available, so I am looking for any evidence, for example:
admission by a Russian official to having lied before the attack,
accounts of political refugees or former Russian politicians who fled to the West and told how things work in Russia, or
evidence to the contrary, like statements by Russian officials that very few people had known about Putin's plans.
Is there any evidence that sheds at least some light on the matter?