Russia denies British claim of trying to replace Ukraine’s leader

Moscow, Jan 24 (AP) Russia’s foreign ministry on Sunday rejected Britain’s claim that its country wants to replace Ukraine’s government with a Russian-backed one, and former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevniy Murayev is a likely candidate.

Murayev is the head of the small pro-Russian party ‘Nashi’, which currently has no seats in Ukraine’s parliament. Britain’s foreign ministry named several other Ukrainian leaders who were said to have links with Russian intelligence services.

Murayev told The Associated Press (AP) on Skype that Britain’s claim was “ridiculous” and that he has been barred from entering Russia since 2018 on grounds of a threat to Russian security. He said the ban was imposed in the wake of a conflict with Ukraine’s biggest pro-Russian leader and a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Viktor Medvedchuk.

The “Nashi” party is known to be sympathetic to Russia, but “the era of pro-Western and pro-Russian leaders is forever over in Ukraine,” Murayev wrote in a Facebook post.

He said he supports Ukraine’s neutral status.

At the same time, Ukrainian political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko described Murayev as a key leader of the Russian camp in Ukraine, but added, “Murayev is a player in second place. I do not think that Murayev has direct contact with the Kremlin.

Russia’s foreign ministry also rejected Britain’s claim. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on the ‘Telegram app’, “The false information being spread by the UK Foreign Ministry strongly proves that the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) country is reducing tensions around Ukraine.” are increasing. We urge the UK Foreign Office to stop provocative activities.

The UK government has made this claim on the basis of an intelligence assessment but has not presented any evidence in support of it. Britain has made this allegation at a time when tensions are going on between Russia and Western countries over Ukraine.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the information “sheds light on Russian activity intended to destroy Ukraine and reflects the Kremlin’s thinking.”

Reiterating Britain’s stand, he said, “Any major strategic mistake of the Russian army will cost Russia a heavy price.”

Britain has sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine as part of an effort to strengthen its defense against a possible Russian attack. Britain’s Defense Minister Ben Wallace is expected to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu for talks in Moscow, amid diplomatic efforts to defuse the Ukraine crisis. However, no time has been given for the meeting. This will be the first UK-Russia bilateral defense dialogue since 2013.

The US has launched an aggressive campaign in recent days, uniting its European allies, in the face of fears of a Russian attack in Ukraine. The White House described the UK government’s assessment as “extremely worrying” and said it stood with the elected government of Ukraine.

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