(Kiev) Ukraine said on Sunday it wanted to dismantle any pro-Russian group after British accusations that Moscow is seeking to impose a pro-Russian leader on Kiev, amid tensions on the Ukrainian border.
Posted at 8:33 a.m.
British Foreign Minister Liz Truss on Saturday accused Russia of seeking to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev” and of “considering” “occupying” Ukraine, accusations Russia called “nonsense” .
The statement came as Russia massed tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, raising fears of an invasion in Kiev and Westerners.
“Our state will continue its policy of dismantling any oligarchic and political structure that could work to destabilize Ukraine or be complicit with the Russian occupiers,” Mykhaïlo Podoliak, adviser to the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said on Sunday. , in comments sent to AFP.
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry called on the UK to “stop spreading nonsense” and “stop its stupid provocations”. […], very dangerous in the current situation”.
British diplomacy said that “the former Ukrainian MP Yevgeniy Muraiev is considered as a potential candidate”, but he is not the only one: the Russian intelligence services maintain “links with many former Ukrainian politicians”.
Reacting to these accusations, Mr. Murayev called for stopping “dividing us into pro-Russian and pro-Western”, while stressing that his country needs “new political leaders” guided by “the national interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people”.
British diplomacy also mentioned the names of Serguiï Arbouzov (the first Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2012 to 2014, then acting Prime Minister), Andriï Klouïev (who headed the presidential administration of the former Ukrainian head of state Viktor Yanukovych), Volodymyr Sivkovytch (former deputy secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council) or even Mykola Azarov (Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2010 to 2014).
“Some of them are in contact with Russian intelligence agents currently involved in planning an attack on Ukraine,” the British Foreign Office charged.
The United States called the charges “deeply concerning.”
“The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand with our democratically elected partners in Ukraine,” said Emily Horne, spokesperson for the National Security Council at the White House.
prayer for peace
Pope Francis said on Sunday he was following “with concern” the growing tensions in Ukraine which call into question the security of the European continent, calling for a day of prayer for peace next Wednesday.
The scenario that Russia might take over its neighbor had earlier been called “nonsense” by the head of the German Navy, Vice-Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach. Comments that earned him to be forced to resign in the evening, announced by the German Ministry of Defense.
The British statements came just hours after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu agreed to a meeting with his British counterpart Ben Wallace. Mr Shoigu proposed that the meeting take place in Moscow.
This bilateral meeting, the first since 2013, aims to “explore all avenues to achieve stability and a settlement of the Ukrainian crisis”, said a source at the British Ministry of Defense on Saturday.
Accused by the West of having massed tens of thousands of soldiers on the Ukrainian border with a view to an attack, the Kremlin denies any bellicose intentions but links a de-escalation to treaties guaranteeing in particular the non-enlargement of NATO, in particular to Ukraine.
Unacceptable, reply the Westerners, who threaten Russia with severe sanctions in the event of an attack.
Despite irreconcilable positions for the moment, a relaxation began on Friday between the West and Moscow after several weeks of verbal escalation, during talks in Geneva between the heads of Russian and American diplomats, Sergei Lavrov and Antony Blinken.
The two ministers agreed on Friday to continue their “frank” talks next week, giving hope to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that an invasion of Ukraine or a military incursion into its territory “will not happen”.