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Scoop of the weekend: UK says Moscow planning to install puppet government in Ukraine

Scoop of the weekend: UK says Moscow planning to install puppet government in Ukraine

UK warns of a Russian plot

The UK Government has said it has 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. The former Ukrainian MP Yevhen Murayev is being considered as a potential candidate.

A source briefed on the US and British intelligence confirmed the US has similar evidence as the UK, regarding Russia's plot to install a friendly government in Ukraine, CNN has reported.

"Yes, we have seen the intelligence that Russia is looking at ways to minimize a long, drawn out war. That includes things like installing a friendly government and using its spy agencies to foment dissent," the source said.

Reaction to the UK's warning

British intelligence has not reported anything about Russia's plan to put a pro-Kremlin protégé in charge of Ukraine that Ukrainians do not understand. But Kyiv "has no doubt that the UK Government understands absolutely clearly, in detail, in person, what is happening in Ukraine," Mykhaylo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the presidential office, told BBC News Ukraine.

"If you look at the reports from Britain impartially, you have to admit: they did not say anything that Ukrainians themselves would not understand about the part of the political spectrum in Ukraine," he said.

Podolyak recalled that since the beginning of Russia's war against Ukraine, the Kremlin had been using "part of the political and public structures and figures, although marginal, but still existent" in its interests.

He blamed the previous authorities for pro-Russian politicians gaining footing in Ukraine.

Murayev, for his part, denied the report while the Russian Foreign Ministry described it as "disinformation".


Dominic Raab has said it is "extremely unlikely" that troops will be sent into Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion - but stressed there will be "severe economic consequences" for the Kremlin, Independent has reported.

The deputy prime minister also assessed the threat of an incursion by Russian forces as "very significant", as he urged the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, to "step back from the brink".

US aid

The second shipment of lethal aid from the USA has arrived in Kyiv, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has said.

"The second bird in Kyiv! More than 80 tons of weapons to strengthen Ukraine's defense capabilities from our friends in the USA! And this is not the end," he tweeted.

Cyber security

The cyber police department of the National Police of Ukraine has said that reports about the hacking of the Diia portal does not correspond to reality.

It noted that the allegations of a possible data leak from the government digital services portal Diia began to spread after a user on one of the online forums published an ad for the sale of the database.

"The appearance of such an ad immediately began to be associated with a cyber attack on state web resources, which took place on the night from 13 to 14 January. However, the information about the hacking of the Diia portal is not true," the cyber police said.

"Such information fakes are nothing but an element of hybrid warfare and an attempt to destabilise the situation in the state," it added.

A data package of several gigabytes was put up for sale online for $15,000 on 22 January. The anonymous seller claims that it contains personal data of 2 million Ukrainians originating from the Diia portal.

Reaction to German remarks

The statements by the head of the Bavarian government and head of the Christian-Social Union, Markus Söder, are detrimental to the bilateral relations between Ukraine and Germany and undermine international efforts to prevent new waves of Russian aggression against Ukraine and aggressive actions against other European countries, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Oleh Nikolenko, told

Söder said that Russia was a difficult partner but not an enemy of Europe and spoke against tougher sanctions on Russia.

Reaction to Germany's denial of arms supply

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has told Welt am Sonntag that he is disappointed with Germany's refusal to grant permission to supply defensive weapons.

"Germany's refusal on this issue is also disappointing for the Ukrainian public. Unfortunately, Ukrainians will remember this for decades and it is very sad for me as foreign minister," Kuleba said.

He added that he respected Germany's references to the past to explain its policy on arms exports, but could not agree with it.

German Navy chief resigns

The head of the German navy has resigned over controversial comments he made over Ukraine, the BBC has reported.

Kay-Achim Schönbach said the idea that Russia wanted to invade Ukraine was nonsense. He added that all President Vladimir Putin wanted was respect.

German ambassador summoned

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry summoned German ambassador Anka Feldhusen over the "unacceptable statements" made by German Navy Commander Kay-Achim Schoenbach that Crimea would never return to Ukraine and that Ukraine could not meet the criteria for NATO membership.

Furthermore, Feldhusen was told that Ukraine was "deeply disappointed with the German government's decision not to provide defensive weapons to Ukraine".

USA denies evacuation

The US Department of State, in a commentary to Voice of America, denied reports by some US media on the intention to evacuate some employees of the US embassy in Ukraine.

According to a State Department official, no evacuation order was given.

According to another source, the US Department of State said that the United States was carrying out thorough contingency planning, as always, in case the situation worsens.


The Russian occupying forces have breached the ceasefire seven times since midnight, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said. On four occasions, they fired 120-mm and 82-mm mortars and grenade launchers of various systems on Vodyane, 120-mm mortars, automatic mounted grenade launchers and heavy machine-guns on Popasna, and grenade launchers of various systems and small arms near Katerynivka, and 122-mm artillery near Novozvanivka.

Three ceasefire violations were registered on 22 January.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said that Ukraine will consider a possible recognition by Russia of independence of the occupied territories in Donbas as its withdrawal from the Minsk agreements.

In an interview with Radio Liberty he said: "The possible recognition of the LPR and the DPR by the Russian Federation would mean an obvious and complete withdrawal of Russia from the Minsk agreements," the minister warned.

He stressed that "responsibility for the situation and for the future implementation of the Minsk agreements lies with the Russian Federation".

Normandy advisers to meet

Political advisers to the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine will meet on 26 January in the Normandy Four format to discuss the situation in Donbas, possibly in Paris.

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