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The United Kingdom has accused President Putin of plotting to install a pro-Moscow figure as Ukraine’s president.

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Former Ukrainian MP Yevhen Murayev was named as a potential Kremlin candidate by the Foreign Office, which is an unusual step.

Russia has moved 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s border but denies planning an invasion.

UK ministers have warned that if an incursion occurs, the Russian government will face serious consequences.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement, “The information released today sheds light on the extent of Russian activity aimed at subverting Ukraine and provides insight into Kremlin thinking.””Russia must de-escalate, end its aggressive and disinformation campaigns, and pursue a diplomatic path.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted that the Foreign Office was “circulating disinformation” and urged it to “cease these provocative activities” and “stop spreading nonsense.”

Russia has previously seized Ukrainian territory, annexed Crimea in 2014 after the country overthrew its pro-Russian president.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said there was a “very serious risk” of another invasion, but that if Russia did, there would be “severe economic consequences,” including sanctions.

However, he told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme that British troops would be “extremely unlikely” to be sent to defend Ukraine, noting that the country was not a Nato ally.

When asked if the threat of sanctions would be enough to deter Russia from invading, Mr. Raab said Vladimir Putin would be concerned about getting “stuck in Ukraine” and ending up “with another Chechnya,” where there were years of conflict in the 1990s.

He went on to say that Russia “needs to live up to the fundamental tenets of international law, and invading another country is not one of them.”

Russia has denied any plans for an attack, but Mr. Putin has made demands of the West, including that Ukraine be barred from joining the Nato military alliance.

He also wants Nato to stop military exercises and weapons deliveries to Eastern Europe, which he sees as a direct threat to Russia’s security.

Dominic Raab, Deputy Prime Minister, has urged Putin to “retreat from the brink.”

Mr. Murayev, a media owner, lost his seat in Ukraine’s parliament after his party failed to secure 5% of the vote in the 2019 elections.

Also read: Russian Invasion Of Ukraine: US Secretary of State Arrives Kyiv For Talks

In response to speculation that he was a potential Kremlin candidate for Ukraine’s presidency, he told the Observer newspaper that the Foreign Office “seems confused.”

“It’s not very logical.” I’m barred from entering Russia. Not only that, but money from my father’s firm in that country has been confiscated,” Mr. Murayev explained.

However, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, believes Russia is attempting to install a pro-Moscow leader.

“It’s not the first time they’ve tried,” he said on Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday.

The Foreign Office also named four other Ukrainian politicians who it claimed had contacts with Russian intelligence services.

According to the report, some of the individuals had contact with Russian intelligence officers working on an invasion plan.

They include Mykola Azarov, the former prime minister of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was deposed in 2014.

Mr. Azarov then fled to Russia, where he established a puppet government-in-exile.

He has faced international sanctions and an Interpol “red notice” at the request of the Ukrainian government for charges ranging from embezzlement to misappropriation.

Volodymyr Sivkovych, the former deputy head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, has also been named and was sanctioned by the US this week for allegedly cooperating with Russian intelligence.

Serhiy Arbuzov and Andriy Kluyev are the others, both of whom served as deputy prime ministers under Mr. Yanukovych.

Russian troop buildup: A view from the front lines of Ukraine

Mr. Prystaiko stated that the question was not whether Russia would invade Ukraine, but rather whether it would be a “full-scale invasion” or something smaller, noting that Russia had already been in Crimea for nearly eight years.

The Ukrainian ambassador to the United Kingdom stated that his country is “prepared to fight,” but is “not that well equipped” for a long-term conflict with Russia.

On Saturday, a US shipment of approximately 90 tonnes of “lethal aid,” including ammunition for “front line defenders,” arrived in Ukraine.

Dozens of British troops have been stationed in Ukraine since 2015 to assist in the training of their armed forces, and the UK has also pledged to assist in the rebuilding of Ukraine’s navy following Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014.

The United Kingdom announced earlier this week that it would be sending defense weapons and additional troops for training.

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