The United Kingdom has warned Moscow that it plans to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine

The United Kingdom warned on Saturday that Russia planned to install a pro-Moscow leader in Ukraine at a time of growing Western concern about Russia’s impending invasion.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Community and Development said there was evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin was seeking to impose a puppet regime while considering whether to invade – citing Evgeny Muraev, a former Ukrainian lawmaker, as a potential leader favored by Moscow.

Liz Trass, the UK’s foreign minister, said the revelation “sheds light on the extent of Russian activity designed to undermine Ukraine and is an insight into the Kremlin’s thinking”.

She added: “Russia must de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation and follow the path of diplomacy. As the United Kingdom and our partners have repeatedly said, any Russian military invasion of Ukraine would be a huge, costly strategic mistake.

The United Kingdom also highlighted several former Ukrainian politicians who it said have maintained ties with Russian intelligence, including Sergei Arbuzov, Ukraine’s former first deputy prime minister; Andriy Kluev, chief of staff to former President Viktor Yanukovych; Vladimir Sivkovich, former Deputy Head of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine; and Mykola Azarov, former Prime Minister of Ukraine.

Russia has amassed 106,000 troops on the border with its western neighbor, and NATO officials fear a Russian invasion.

In response to London’s warning, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement quoted by the state newspaper RIA Novosti: “Disinformation spread by the UK Foreign Office is further evidence that NATO countries, especially the Anglo-Saxons, are escalating tensions over Ukraine.” .

“We call on the Foreign Ministry to end its provocative activities, stop spreading nonsense and focus on studying the history of the Tatar-Mongol yoke,” the ministry added in an apparent excavation in a recent speech by UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallach. Russia and Ukraine. history.

Washington has expressed concern over the allegations. Emily Horn, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said: “This kind of conspiracy is deeply disturbing. The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we are with our democratically elected partners in Ukraine.

The UK’s late-night statement came late at the end of the day when Germany’s naval chief resigned after sparking a diplomatic dispute, saying Vladimir Putin should receive “the respect he probably deserves” and arguing that Crimea never will not be returned to Ukraine.

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