London Accuses Moscow of Plotting a Putsch in Kiev

Late in the evening of Jan. 22, timed to make the headlines of the Sunday morning media, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom un-embargoed a statement entitled: “Kremlin Plan To Install Pro-Russian Leadership in Ukraine Exposed”. Under that sensationalist headline, it claims that “We have information that indicates the Russian government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine.”

One of the Kremlin’s choices to replace Ukraine’s current Western-backed president Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the highly unreliable Foreign Office, is 45-year-old Yevheniy Murayev, a member of the Ukrainian parliament from 2012 to 2019. However, his Opposition Bloc party failed to pass the 5% threshold in the latest parliamentary election.

The statement goes on to name other Ukrainian opposition politicians, with whom “the Russian intelligence services maintain links”. And some of them “have contact with Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine.” This seems to be an invitation to Kiev to crack down even more heavily on the opposition.

As usual, the Foreign Office statement provides no evidence to back up its assertions on the putsch narrative, which even U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to lend credibility to. And the Russian Embassy in London pointed out in a communiqué that Murayev is currently under Russian sanctions “for being a threat to national security”.

Rabidly anti-Russian Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is quoted as saying that “The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking.” She goes on to demand an end to Moscow’s “campaigns of aggression and disinformation”, adding that “any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake with severe costs.” On other occasions, the would-be “Iron Lady” has threatened to exclude Russia from the SWIFT banking mechanism.

The provocations, however, are not only verbal. The UK has pledged to send “light, anti-armor, defensive weapon systems” to Ukraine, as well as small numbers of troops. NATO is flying tons of military equipment into the country, and there are already 10,000 NATO troops on the ground, including 4,000 from the United States. The British broadcaster Sky News reported that the UK has sent 30 members of its “Special Operations Brigade” to train Ukrainian troops on the anti-tank weapons that have been supplied by the British. According to various media reports, private mercenary firms are training soldiers in eastern Ukraine to carry out false-flag operations.

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