Britain warned on Saturday that Russia was planning to install a pro-Moscow leader in Ukraine amid growing Western fears of an imminent Russian invasion of the country.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it had evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin was seeking to create a puppet regime as he considered whether to invade – and named former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Murayev in Moscow’s favor potential leaders.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the news “reveals the extent of Russian activity aimed at subverting Ukraine and is an insight into the thinking of the Kremlin”.
She added: “Russia must de-escalate the situation, end its aggression and disinformation campaign and embark on a diplomatic path. As the UK and our partners have repeatedly said, any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a huge strategy Mistakes are costly.”
The U.K. also highlighted several former Ukrainian politicians, saying they continued to maintain ties with Russian intelligence, including former Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov; former President Viktor Yanukovych’s chief of staff Andrei K. Ruyev; Vladimir Sivkovich, former deputy director of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine; and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mikola Azarov.
Russia has amassed 106,000 troops on the border of its western neighbor, and NATO officials fear an imminent Russian invasion.
In response to London’s warning, Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by state news agency RIA Novosti: “The disinformation spread by the British Foreign Office is further proof that it is NATO countries, especially the Anglo-Saxons, that are raising tensions around Ukraine. .”
“We call on the Foreign Office to stop its provocative activities, stop spreading nonsense, and focus on the history of the Tatar-Mongol yoke,” the ministry added, apparently scorning British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s recent remarks on Russia and Ukraine. Speeches on common issues. history.
Washington has expressed concern over the allegations. White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said: “This conspiracy is deeply worrying. The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand with our democratically elected partners in Ukraine.”
Britain’s late-night statement comes at the end of a day as German naval chief resigns spark a diplomatic dispute He said Vladimir Putin deserved “the respect he probably deserves” and claimed Crimea would never be returned to Ukraine.