On Sunday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry denied a British report that Russia was trying to install a pro-Moscow government in Ukraine, and that former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniy Murayev was being evaluated as a possible candidate.
The British Foreign Office named numerous more Ukrainian politicians with ties to Russian intelligence agencies on Saturday, including Murayev, the leader of a minor pro-Russia party with no members in parliament.
The accusation was made by the UK government based on an intelligence assessment, but no proof was provided to back it up. It comes at a time when Moscow and the West are at odds about Russia’s intentions in Ukraine.
“The British Foreign Office’s deception is another proof that the NATO countries, led by the Anglo-Saxons, are raising tensions around Ukraine,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on the Telegram messaging app on Sunday. “We demand that the British Foreign Office cease provocative actions and promote rubbish.”
The evidence “sheds light on the scope of Russian action meant to destabilise Ukraine, and gives an insight into Kremlin thought,” according to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Truss urged Russia to “deescalate, halt its campaigns of aggression and deception, and adopt a road of diplomacy,” reiterating the United Kingdom’s position that “any Russian military intervention into Ukraine would be a tremendous geopolitical error with terrible costs.”
Anti-tank weapons have been supplied to Ukraine as part of attempts to strengthen the country’s defences against a possible Russian onslaught.
In Moscow, U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace is set to meet Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for talks as part of diplomatic efforts to calm the problem. The meeting, which would be the first bilateral defence talks between the UK and Russia since 2013, has yet to be scheduled.
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