The British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss gestures for a photograph. File photo
UK accused the Kremlin of seeking to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine, and said Russian intelligence officers had been in contact with a number of former Ukrainian politicians as part of plans for an invasion.
The British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has called for Russia to ‘halt its aggression’ amid fears Moscow is preparing to invade Ukraine.
She tweeted: ‘Russia is waging a disinformation campaign intended to destabilise and justify an invasion of its sovereign neighbour Ukraine.
The British foreign ministry declined to provide evidence to back its accusations, which came at a time of high tensions between Russia and the West over Russia's massing of troops near its border with Ukraine. Moscow has insisted it has no plans to invade.
We will not tolerate the Kremlin plot to install a pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine, Truss said on Twitter.
The British ministry said it had information the Russian government was considering former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Murayev as a potential candidate to head a pro-Russian leadership.
"We will not tolerate Kremlin plot to install pro-Russian leadership in Ukraine," Truss said on Twitter. "The Kremlin knows a military incursion would be a massive strategic mistake & the UK and our partners would impose a severe cost on Russia."
The British statement was released in the early hours of Sunday, Moscow and Kyiv time, and there was no immediate statement from the Kremlin, or from Murayev.
A foreign ministry source said it was not usual practice to share intelligence matters, and the details had only been declassified after careful consideration to deter Russian aggression.
The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the comments as "disinformation", accusing Britain and NATO of "escalating tensions" over Ukraine, according to Reuters.
"We urge the Foreign Office to cease these provocative activities, stop spreading nonsense and finally concentrate its efforts on studying the history of the Mongol-Tatar yoke," the ministry said on its verified Facebook account.
The training of about 800 Ukrainian soldiers will be conducted exclusively at one of four locations in Britain, and New Zealand defence personnel will not travel to Ukraine, the government said in a statement.
Among others, General Alexander Dvornikov was removed after being given overall command of the operation in Ukraine. In addition, at least 10 Russian generals were killed on the battlefield in Ukraine, the update said.
The Russian forces' efforts to boost their fighting power also includes trying to recruit from the unrecognised Transnistria region of Moldova, the Ministry of Defence said in a regular bulletin on Twitter.
"I look forward to deepening the special relationship between our countries and working in close cooperation on global challenges, including continued support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression," Biden said in a tweet.
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