According to a statement from the Foreign Office, the Russian intelligence services have maintained contacts with several Ukrainian politicians.
The United Kingdom has affirmed this Saturday that it has reliable information about Russia 's maneuvers to "install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev", while fears grow that Moscow will invade Ukraine.
According to a statement from the Foreign Office , Russian intelligence services have maintained contacts with several Ukrainian politicians and "former deputy Yevhen Murayev is considered a potential leader" of this former Soviet republic, "although not the only one." Russia has rejected this claim and accuses London of spreading "disinformation".
"The disinformation circulated by the British government is another sign that NATO countries, led by Anglo-Saxon nations, are the ones causing tensions over Ukraine," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, quoted in the statement, said the report reveals "the scale of Russian activity aimed at destabilizing Ukraine". Truss urges Russia to initiate a "de-escalation" and "end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, continuing the path of diplomacy."
These accusations are published the day after the heads of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, and the American diplomat, Antony Blinken , met in Geneva to try to reduce tensions on the Russian-Ukrainian border and agreed to continue their "frank" talks the next week.
For the United States, the UK accusations are "deeply troubling". "These types of plans are deeply concerning. The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand with our democratically elected partners in Ukraine," White House National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said.
Western countries accuse Russia of deploying tanks, artillery and some 100,000 soldiers on the border with Ukraine to prepare an attack.
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The Kremlin denies any warlike intention, but conditions the de-escalation to treaties that guarantee the non-expansion of NATO , in particular to Ukraine , as well as the withdrawal of the Atlantic Alliance from Eastern Europe, something that Westerners consider unacceptable.
"A BIG STRATEGIC MISTAKE"
Last Tuesday, the White House said that Russian President Vladimir Putin could order the attack "at any time" and warned that the West "does not rule out any option." In Saturday's statement, Truss said that "any military incursion into Ukraine would be a great strategic mistake" and would have "serious costs" for Russia.
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The head of the German Navy, Kay-Achim Schönbach , has dismissed the scenario of a Russian invasion of Ukraine as "nonsense". These statements have caused his resignation this Saturday, as announced by the German Ministry of Defense.
WITH NAME AND SURNAME
The list of people - mentioned by name and surname in the British statement - who would have been probed by Russian services also includes former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov , who fled to Russia together with then-President Viktor Yanukovic in 2014, after an uprising. popular in Kyiv.
The others are the former head of the National Security and Defense Council Vladimir Sivkovich (sanctioned this week by the United States along with three other Ukrainian politicians for their alleged cooperation with Russian intelligence services), former Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov and former head of presidential cabinet Andriy Kluyev.
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The UK accusation also comes just hours after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accepted an invitation to meet with his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, to discuss the crisis on the Ukrainian border. The meeting will take place in Moscow.
The bilateral meeting, which would be the first since 2013, aims to "explore all avenues to achieve stability and resolve the Ukrainian crisis," a British Defense Ministry source said on Saturday.
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