The Russian Foreign Ministry called the next message of British colleagues “nonsense”: the Foreign Office said that the Russian authorities plan to install a “loyal government” in Ukraine and for this they are cooperating, in particular, with ex-People’s Deputy Yevgeny Muraev. He was surprised by such a statement and offered to turn to “Mr. Bean” in order to understand the logic of the British.
What they say in Britain
British diplomats believe that the Russian authorities would like to establish a government loyal to Moscow in Ukraine. The UK Foreign Office claims that if this option is implemented, ex- Verkhovna Rada deputy Yevgeny Muraev will become the head of the Cabinet.
“We have information that indicates that the Russian government intends to imprison a pro-Russian leader in Kiev, while at the same time considering whether to invade and occupy Ukraine. Former Ukrainian MP Evgeny Muraev is being considered as a possible candidate,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Foreign Office also said that the diplomats have information that the Russian special services are in touch with Ukrainian politicians. This, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, refers to two former first vice-premiers of the country – Serhiy Arbuzov (was in power in 2012-2014) and his predecessor Andriy Klyuev (2010-2012), who was still the head of the administration of the ex-president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.
In addition, “ Vladimir Sivkovich , former Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, as well as Mykola Azarov , Prime Minister of Ukraine in 2010-2014” are suspected of having links with Russia . All of them, according to Strana.ua, have been living in Russia since 2014.
London is confident that some of the named Ukrainian politicians “are currently in contact with Russian intelligence officers, participating in the planning of an attack on Ukraine.”
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss urged Moscow to negotiate and ease tensions. She opined that the data released by the agency “sheds light on the scope of Russian activities aimed at undermining Ukraine and provides a glimpse into what the Kremlin is thinking.”
“Russia must make efforts to de-escalate, end its campaign of aggression and disinformation, and seek to return to the path of diplomacy,” the minister said.
Truss recalled that the United Kingdom and the country’s partners have already said that for Moscow, “any Russian invasion of Ukraine” would be “a huge strategic mistake with a significant cost.”
Following the message of the British Foreign Office, Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain Dominic Raab warned that his country would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Ukraine. According to him, London is ready to impose sanctions against Russia not only in case of its “invasion” of Ukrainian territories. “Very serious consequences” may also occur if Moscow intends to establish a “puppet regime” there.
What the “future prime minister” Muraev says
The owner of the Nash TV channel and ex-People’s Deputy Yevgeny Muraev said in a commentary to Strana.ua that the British accusations were unfounded. He recalled the Russian restrictions under which he has been for several years.
“Since 2018, I have been under Russian sanctions due to a conflict with [the head of the political council of the Opposition Platform – For Life party Viktor ] Medvedchuk. My family’s assets have been seized there. As with the British intelligence services and the Foreign Office, this is combined with the fact that Russia allegedly wants to appoint me the head of the “occupation government” – this is a question for Mr. Bean,” Muraev emphasized. Mr. Bean is the hero of the British comedy series, who constantly finds himself in comical situations, eccentrically solves everyday problems.
In a comment to the Telegraph newspaper , Muraev said that he “has a hard time digesting this stupidity and nonsense.” “Maybe someone wants to close another independent TV channel,” he suggested.
He added that as a man “who is banned from entering Russia due to a national security threat and whose father’s assets were frozen in Russia”, it is “difficult for him to comment” on the British Foreign Office statement.
A few hours before the publication of the British statement , photographs in the style of James Bond films appeared on Muraev ‘s social networks . A black and white image of him with a gun in his hand was posted on Instagram and Facebook. The caption reads: “Details tomorrow.” However, these pages are not verified.
Muraev has been in opposition to the authorities from the very beginning of his political career. At first he was a member of the Opposition Bloc party, a few years later he created his own party – Nashi. In 2019, he participated in the presidential elections, but withdrew his candidacy in favor of another politician in exchange for the post of prime minister in case of victory. Then, on the lists of the Opposition Bloc, he tried to become a people’s deputy, but the party could not overcome the percentage barrier.
The politician has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the leadership of the country. So, in 2018, he stated that Ukraine had given up its sovereignty to “overseas sponsors” from the United States. As for the current Ukrainian authorities, he believes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky does not yet understand that his fate could turn out worse than that of Viktor Yanukovych.
The former member of the Verkhovna Rada believes that the current situation is reminiscent of the eve of the Maidan at the end of 2013. “Vladimir Alexandrovich, we are tired of you. We want to live in a normal country. [Tired] of your stupid decisions, of your harmful decisions for the country. You either need to change, or it will end very badly,” he said in early November last year. According to Muraev, a new crisis could lead to the division of the country by neighbors.
The reaction of Moscow and Washington
In recent days, the UK has repeatedly warned of an impending “Russian invasion of Ukraine” without providing any evidence. Based on these statements, the British authorities delivered several dozen tons of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine in a few days, including NLAW anti-tank missiles (though with a shelf life expiring this year).
The United States has already expressed “concern” in connection with the statement of the British Foreign Office about Moscow’s plans to establish a “pro-Russian government” in Ukraine
“Such planning is deeply disturbing. The people of Ukraine have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand on the side of our democratically elected partners in Ukraine, ”said Emily Horn , a spokeswoman for the presidential administration ’s national security council .
In Moscow, the statement of the Foreign Office was perceived as misinformation. The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that this once again proves that NATO , led by the Anglo-Saxons, is escalating tensions around Ukraine.
“We call on the British Foreign Office to stop provocative activities, stop spreading nonsense and concentrate on studying the history of the Tatar-Mongol yoke,” the agency said in a statement.
Earlier Truss said that Ukraine has already experienced a lot of invasions – “from the Mongols to the Tatars.” In response to this, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, asked which educational institution issued the diploma to the minister.
The diplomat added that Moscow expects more provocative statements from Western countries, including on the situation around Ukraine.