Ukraine conflict: London warns: Russia wants to replace government in Ukraine
London, Moscow The British government has accused Russia of wanting to establish a pro-Russian government in Ukraine. A statement from the Foreign Ministry on Sunday morning said former Ukrainian MP Yevgeny Murayev was a potential candidate for the leadership. Murayev is the leader of the small pro-Russian Nashi party, which is not currently represented in parliament.
Murayev himself told the Observer newspaper that the British Foreign Office seemed confused. “It’s not very logical. I am banned from Russia. Not only that, but my father’s company money was confiscated.”
The British Foreign Office named several other Ukrainian politicians who are said to have links to Russian intelligence.
It was unclear what the British government’s views were on possible measures Russia might take to achieve the rumored goal of a friendly government in Kiev.
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The British government made the allegation based on an intelligence assessment without supporting it with any evidence. Secretary of State Liz Truss said the information shed new light on the scale of Russian activity aimed at infiltrating Ukraine and provided a glimpse into Kremlin thinking.
Truss wrote on Twitter on Saturday: “We will not tolerate the Kremlin’s plot to install a pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine.” The Russian government knows that a military invasion would be a major strategic mistake and that the United Kingdom and its partners would impose a heavy price on Russia.
Truss called on Russia to “de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy.” She repeated the statement, also made by the US and NATO representatives, that “any military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake with high costs.”
Russia complains of “false information”
Meanwhile, Russia and the US have responded to Britain’s accusations against Russia. US National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said this type of conspiracy is of great concern. The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future. The US stands by its democratically elected partner in Ukraine.
Read more about the Ukraine crisis
The Russian government, on the other hand, has dismissed the allegations as “false information”. Britain and NATO escalated tensions over Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Office called on the British Foreign Office on Facebook to refrain from its “provocative activities” and not to spread nonsense.
The background to the Foreign Ministry’s statement is the serious tension in the Ukraine conflict. Russia has massed around 100,000 soldiers on the border with Ukraine. The government in Moscow rejects the accusation that it is preparing an invasion of Ukraine and, for its part, is demanding security guarantees from NATO. The West rejects this and has declared that an invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops would have serious political and economic consequences.
Britain had already sent light anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, drawing criticism from the Kremlin for doing so.
US President Joe Biden discussed the crisis with his security team at Camp David, the country residence of the president in the state of Maryland, on Saturday. The White House said Biden had been briefed on the current status of Russian military operations on Ukraine’s borders.
USA continues to rely on diplomacy
The President reiterated that Moscow would face “quick and severe consequences” if it invaded Ukraine. The US government continues to rely on diplomacy as well as a range of deterrent measures that are closely coordinated with allies. This included ongoing deliveries of security aid to Ukraine.
Great Britain is also relying on diplomacy in the conflict. The British foreign secretary will travel to Moscow in February to meet with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, the Russian news agency RIA reported. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his British counterpart Ben Wallace have also agreed to hold talks.