Russia Calls New British Accusation 'Disinformation'

UK on Saturday claimed Russia is trying to replace Ukraine leader
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2022 6:45 AM CST
UK Alleges Russia Is Plotting to Replace Ukraine's Leader
Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. Dozens of civilians have been joining Ukraine's army reserves in recent weeks amid fears about Russian invasion.   (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

(Newser) – Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday rejected a British claim that Russia was seeking to replace Ukraine’s government with a pro-Moscow administration, and that former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniy Murayev was being considered as a potential candidate. The Wall Street Journal reports the allegations of a plot back up "an earlier US assessment suggesting that the Kremlin is laying plans to oust its neighbor’s leadership," though the Journal notes neither country detailed how it arrived at that conclusion (the AP reports the British claim was based on an intelligence assessment).

A line from the Britain’s Foreign Office's Saturday statement: "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." A rep for the Russian Foreign Ministry responded with this: "The disinformation spread by the British Foreign Office is more evidence that it is the NATO countries, led by the Anglo-Saxons, who are escalating tensions around Ukraine. We call on the British Foreign Office to stop provocative activities, stop spreading nonsense."

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the information "shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking." The White House called the UK government assessment "deeply concerning" and said it stands with the duly elected Ukrainian government. "This kind of plotting is deeply concerning," National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said. "The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand with our democratically-elected partners in Ukraine."

(Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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