“We have information that suggests the Kremlin is attempting to establish a pro-Russian leadership in Kiev while it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine,” the State Department said in a statement Saturday night in London.
Yevheniy Murayev, a former Ukrainian MP, has been named as a possible candidate for the leadership position in the government in Kiev. The candidate named by London as a potential Moscow governor has been on a Russian sanctions list since 2018. Murayev told the Observer newspaper that the British Foreign Office seemed confused.
“There will be very serious consequences if Russia takes this step,” British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said yesterday. “We will not tolerate the Kremlin’s plot to install a pro-Russian leadership in Kiev,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted.
Connections to Austria
In addition to Murayev, the British Foreign Office also named four political pensioners from the era of President Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in 2014, as pro-Moscow leaders, including two former top bureaucrats who had close ties to Vienna in the past.
Andriy Klyuyev, formerly the powerful head of Yanukovych’s presidential office, held shares in companies together with his brother Serhiy through SLAV AG in Vienna. And ex-Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, whose family owned real estate in Vienna and Mariazell, stayed in Austria several times before the change of power in Kiev at the end of February 2014. The former prime minister was later represented by the Viennese lawyer Gabriel Lansky in his lawsuit against EU sanctions.
German officer must go
Meanwhile, a high-ranking German officer had to vacate his post because he had expressed sympathy for the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin: The inspector of the German Navy, Kay-Achim Schönbach, said during a visit to India: “What Putin really wants is respect on an equal footing .” And you should also give him this respect, “because he probably deserves it too”. In addition, Schönbach said that “the Crimean peninsula is gone for Ukraine, it will not come back”. But that contradicts the official position of Berlin.