Ukraine says it will dismantle all pro-Russian groups

The Ukrainian government on Sunday vowed to continue fighting pro-Russian individuals and entities seeking to destabilize Ukraine, after Britain accused Russia of wanting to place a pro-Russian leader in Kiev.

“Our country will continue its policy of dismantling any oligarchic and political structures that may serve to destabilize Ukraine or aid the invaders,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff.

The name of former deputy Yevgeny Murayev, who London has touted as a potential leader Moscow will install in Kiev, “is not surprising,” the official said.

“Our partner governments have started calling things by their names and exposing ‘friends of Russia,'” Podoliak added.

The official recalled Washington’s recent decision to sanction four Ukrainians, including two active deputies, accused of collaborating with Russia’s secret services.

“British information completes the “list of personalities” selected” by the Kremlin to “try to promote Russian interests,” he continued.

In its statement, the British diplomatic service also named four other former Ukrainian officials believed to be “in touch with Russian intelligence officers currently involved in planning attacks on Ukraine.”

One of them, the former deputy secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Volodymyr Sivkovich, is also on the list of four Ukrainians sanctioned by Washington.

The West accuses Russia of concentrating tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s borders and preparing for an invasion of its neighbour.

The Kremlin denies any intent to go to war, but attributes the de-escalation to an agreement guaranteeing NATO’s non-expansion, particularly to Ukraine.

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Matt Thompson

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