British government: Kremlin looking to install pro-Russian leader in Ukraine


The United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on Saturday put out a statement saying it had obtained information indicating that the Russian government is planning to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine.

The statement says Yevhen Murayev, a former member of the Ukrainian parliament, is being considered as a potential candidate for the role.

The information comes amid heightened tensions in the region as Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. President Biden predicted this week Russia "will move in" to the neighboring country.
 
"The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking," British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.
 
"Russia must de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy. As the UK and our partners have said repeatedly, any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake with severe costs," she continued.
 
The office also released a list of former Ukrainian politicians with links to Russia's intelligence services, suggesting that some of them "have contact with Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine."
 
The Russian foreign ministry denied the accusations.
 
“The spread of disinformation by the British foreign ministry is one more piece of evidence that NATO countries, led by the Anglo Saxons, are escalating tensions around Ukraine,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement, The New York Times reported. “We call on the British foreign ministry to stop its prevocational activities.”
 
Moscow has also repeatedly denied having any intention of invading Ukraine.
 
The U.K. is a formal ally of the U.S. and is included in the NATO alliance, which has vowed to support Ukrainian independence and impose significant consequences on Russia if it invades.
 
This week, the U.S. cleared three NATO nations to send American-made weapons to Ukraine.
 
On Thursday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said any Russian invasion "would be a disaster — not just for Ukraine but for Russia, a disaster for the world."

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