May 13, 2022

London accuses Moscow of wanting to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev”

“According to our information, the Russian government is seeking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev, while it plans to invade and occupy Ukraine,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

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The tension has risen again a notch in the Ukrainian file. The United Kingdom accused, on Saturday January 22, Russia of wanting to place a pro-Russian leader at the head of Ukraine and of considering “to invade and occupy” this country, the day after the American-Russian talks. These accusations were denied on Sunday by Moscow. “We call on the Foreign Office to stop spreading nonsense”, reacted on Sunday the Russian Foreign Ministry on Twitter.

In an abrasive statement, the head of British diplomacy, Liz Truss, denounced “the scale of Russian activity aimed at undermining Ukraine”. “According to our information, the Russian government is seeking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev, while it plans to invade and occupy Ukraine”, she added. The Foreign Office says that “ex-Ukrainian deputy Yevgeniy Murayev is considered as a potential candidate”.

But he is not the only one: the Russian intelligence services maintain “ties with many former Ukrainian politicians”. British diplomacy evokes the names of Serguiï Arbouzov (the first Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2012 to 2014, then Acting Prime Minister), Andriï Klouïev (who headed the presidential administration of the former head of Ukrainian state Viktor Yanukovych), Volodymyr Sivkovytch (former deputy secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council) or even Mykola Azarov (Ukrainian Prime Minister from 2010 to 2014). “Some of them are in contact with Russian intelligence agents who are currently involved in planning an attack on Ukraine”, accuses London.

For the United States, these accusations are “deeply concerning”. “This kind of plotting is deeply concerning. The people of Ukraine have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand with our democratically elected partners in Ukraine.”, said Emily Horne, spokeswoman for the National Security Council at the White House.

These British assertions agree with some American information. On Thursday, Washington had imposed sanctions on four Ukrainians, including two sitting deputies, accused of working with the Russian secret service (FSB), citing their “destabilizing activities” in Ukraine. The White House believes an attack could now occur “at any time”.