Wed, 25 May 2022

Britain says it has information that Moscow is developing plans to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin considers whether to order an invasion of troops into the country.

The British Foreign Office in a statement late on January 22 said the information it has "indicates that the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv" and that the former Ukrainian parliament member Yevhen Murayev "is being considered as a potential candidate."

The statement said that the British government also has information that the Russian intelligence services maintain links with several former Ukrainian politicians.

The statement said among them are Serhiy Arbuzov, who was 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 Viktor Yanukovich; Volodymyr Sivkovich, former deputy head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (RNBO); and Mykola Azarov, prime minister of Ukraine from 2010-2014.

"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," said Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

"Russia must de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy," she said.

Truss repeated that "any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake with severe costs" and said the U.K. government's position on Ukraine was clear.

"We unequivocally support its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, including Crimea. Ukraine is an independent, sovereign country," she said.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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