Britain on Saturday accused the Kremlin of seeking to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine, and said Russian intelligence officials had been in contact with several former Ukrainian politicians as part of an invasion plan.
The British Foreign Ministry declined to provide evidence to support its allegations, which came at a time of massive tensions between Russia and the West with Russian troops near its border with Ukraine. Moscow has insisted it has no plans to attack.
The British ministry said it was aware that the Russian government was considering former Ukrainian parliamentarian Yevgen Murayev as a possible candidate for the pro-Russian leadership.
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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Twitter: “We will not tolerate a Kremlin plot to establish a pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine.” “The Kremlin knows that a military incursion would be a major strategic mistake and would impose serious costs on the UK and our allies, Russia.”
The British statement was issued in the early hours of Sunday, Moscow and Kiev time, and there was no immediate statement from the Kremlin, or Murayev.
A foreign ministry source said the sharing of intelligence was not common practice, and the details were made public only after careful consideration to deter Russian aggression.
The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the comments as “propaganda”, accusing Britain and NATO of “raising tensions” on Ukraine.
“We urge the Foreign Office to focus our efforts on stopping these provocative activities, stopping the spread of nonsense, and finally studying the history of Mongol-Tatar gambling,” the ministry said on its verified Facebook account.
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Britain’s claims come a day after top US and Russian diplomats failed to achieve a major breakthrough in talks to resolve the crisis over Ukraine, though they agreed to talk. Russia has sought protection from the United States, including a halt to NATO’s eastward expansion and a pledge that Ukraine will never be allowed to join a Western military alliance.
US National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said in a statement: “Such a conspiracy is deeply worrying. The people of Ukraine have a sovereign right to decide their own future, and we stand by our democratically elected partners in Ukraine. Huh.
Murayev, 45, is a pro-Russian politician who opposes Ukraine’s integration with the West. According to a poll by Razumkov’s central think tank conducted in December 2021, he was ranked seventh among candidates for the 2024 presidential election with 6.3 percent support.
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“You’ve made my evening. The British Foreign Office seems confused,” Murayev told Britain’s Observer newspaper. “It’s not very logical. I have been banned from Russia. Not only this, the money of my father’s firm has also been confiscated.”
Britain, which this week supplied Ukraine with 2,000 missiles and a team of military trainers, also said it has information that Russian intelligence services are maintaining links with “many” former Ukrainian politicians, including former President Viktor Yanukovich. Senior individuals with links to are also included.
Yanukovich fled to Russia in 2014 after three months of protests against his regime and was sentenced in absentia to 13 years in prison in 2019 on charges of treason.
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‘Plan of Attack’
“Some of them have contacts with Russian intelligence officials involved in planning an attack on Ukraine,” the statement from the British Foreign Office said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street office also said British leaders were planning to increase pressure on Russia this week, calling on European counterparts to work with the United States to counter Russian aggression.
Earlier, RIA news agency reported that British Foreign Minister Truss would visit Moscow in February to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, while Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his British counterpart Ben Wallace have also agreed to hold talks. .