- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky claims that Russian “representatives” are plotting to destabilize his government next week, as a Russian troop buildup raises fears of an invasion.
- A significant portion of the Russian force is stationed in Crimea, the peninsula that Russia added from Ukraine in March 2014.
Mr. Zelensky claimed that audio recordings indicated that the country’s wealthiest businessman was being dragged into the scheme, but this has been denied. Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesman stated that Russia has “no plans to intervene.”
Moscow has also dismissed concerns about the troop buildup as “alarmist.” On Friday, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russian use of force against Ukraine would “come at a cost” but did not specify what that cost would be.
Mr. Zelensky condemned Russia’s “very dangerous rhetoric.” “It’s a warning sign that there could be an escalation,” he said. “Today, there is a threat that there will be a war tomorrow. So we are fully prepared for escalation.” In addition, troops have recently gathered near Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, including the Luhansk and Donetsk areas partially controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
Mr. Zelensky claimed that business magnate Rinat Akhmetov, a perceived opponent of the president, was “dragged into a war toward the Ukrainian state.”
Zelensky didn’t name the alleged plotters but stated that Mr. Akhmetov may or may not be aware of such plans that his “inner circle” has drawn him into.
Mr. Akhmetov issued a statement dismissing the president’s claims, saying he was “offended by the spread of this lie.” “My position has been also will continue to be unambiguous: an independent, democratic, and integrated Ukraine with Crimea and my native Donbas. My actions support this, “In a statement released to Ukrainian media, he added.
The Ukrainian president did not directly accuse Russia of the alleged plot, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded almost immediately, saying Russia “never does such things at all.”
Source: BBC News
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