Britain’s Foreign Office also on Saturday named several other Ukrainian politicians it said had ties to Russian intelligence services, along with Murayev, the leader of a small pro-Russian party that has no seat in parliament.
The UK government made the claim based on an intelligence assessment without providing any evidence to back it up. It comes amid high tensions between Moscow and the West over Russia’s plans for Ukraine.
“The disinformation spread by the British Foreign Office is further evidence that it is the NATO countries, led by the Anglo-Saxons, who are escalating tensions around Ukraine,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in the messaging on Sunday -App Telegram. “We call on the British Foreign Office to stop provocative activities and to stop spreading nonsense.”
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the information “sheds light on the scale of Russian activities aimed at undermining Ukraine and gives an insight into the mindset of the Kremlin”.
Truss called on Russia to “de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation and embark on a path of diplomacy” and reiterated Britain’s view that “any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake at great cost”.
Britain has sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine to bolster its defenses against a possible Russian attack.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace is expected to meet Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for talks in Moscow amid diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis. No date was given for the meeting, which would be the first bilateral defense talks between Britain and Russia since 2013.
The US has launched an aggressive campaign in recent months to unite its European allies against a new Russian invasion of Ukraine. The White House called the UK government’s assessment “deeply concerning” and said it sided with Ukraine’s duly elected government.
“This type of conspiracy is deeply concerning,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne. “The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future and we stand behind our democratically elected partners in Ukraine.”
Jill Lawless in London, Jari Tanner in Helsinki, and Matthew Lee and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.