The UK’s claims that the Kremlin is plotting to install a pro-Russian puppet government in Ukraine headed by former MP Yevhen Murayev should be taken seriously, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, has told Reuters.
Podolyak told the news agency that Ukrainians had certain doubts about Murayev’s candidature to head the Russia-imposed government, as he is “too ridiculous a figure.” At the same time, Podolyak also said that Moscow had previously backed “underdogs” for high offices in Russian-occupied Crimea and the Donbas, leading the presidential advisor to believe that the UK report “should be taken seriously”.
On Jan. 23, the UK Foreign Office alleged that the Kremlin was looking to invade Ukraine and install a puppet government led by the head of NASHI political party, Yevhen Murayev.
The Foreign Office also alleged that Russia had been working with a number of former officials from the former government of fugitive Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, such as former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, former Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Arbuzov, former First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuev, and former head of Ukraine’s SBU security service, Volodymyr Syvkovych. All four are former Yanukovych insiders, and are currently in exile in Russia and under international sanctions.
The U.S. cable television news channel CNN reported that U.S. intelligence sources confirmed the UK’s allegations. The Russian Foreign Ministry called these reports “disinformation and provocative activity.”
Murayev also dismissed the UK claims as “nonsense,” pointing to the fact that he was sanctioned by Russia and banned from going there.