The United Kingdom's government announced Saturday that their latest intelligence assessments suggest Russia plans to overthrow Ukraine's elected government and install a pro-Russian puppet regime, NPR reported.
Britain's foreign ministry identified former Ukrainian parliament member Yevheniy Murayev, who leads a small pro-Russian political party, as Russian President Vladimir Putin's top pick to lead the new government.
Murayev himself responded to these rumors by distancing himself from both Russia and Western Europe. In a Facebook post Sunday, he called on "everyone who is not indifferent to the fate of Ukraine" to "stop dividing us into varieties, pro-Russian and pro-Western" politicians. Ukraine, he wrote, is "an independent, independent state and we can and must decide our own fate."
U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss threatened "severe costs" if Russia attempts to invade Ukraine and install a friendly regime, while Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said Russia would face "very serious consequences," Reuters reported.
Russia denied the allegations, calling them "disinformation."
The U.K. has taken an aggressive line against Russia. Last week, 2,000 British anti-tank missile launchers arrived in Ukraine along with 30 elite British troops sent to train the Ukrainian military on how to use them, Sky News reported.