It isn’t often that the British Government is accused of being bold, at least not in modern times. But a press release designated as an official United Kingdom communication accused Russia of planning to install their own government in Ukraine.
The Kremlin denied it:
☝️ We urge the Foreign Office to stop spreading nonsense.
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) January 23, 2022
Who’s telling the truth? Here’s the press release from the U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:
Kremlin plan to install pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine exposed
Foreign Secretary statement on Kremlin plan to install pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine exposed
We have information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine. The former Ukrainian MP Yevhen Murayev is being considered as a potential candidate.
We have information that the Russian intelligence services maintain links with numerous former Ukrainian politicians including:
- Serhiy Arbuzov, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2012-2014, and acting Prime Minister in 2014
- Andriy Kluyev, First Deputy Prime Minister from 2010-2012 and Chief of Staff to former Ukrainian President Yanukovich
- Vladimir Sivkovich, former Deputy Head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council (RNBO)
- Mykola Azarov, Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2010-2014
Some of these have contact with Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:
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.
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.
The UK’s position on Ukraine is also clear. We unequivocally support its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, including Crimea. Ukraine is an independent, sovereign country.