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Ukraine PM Says Russia ‘Absolutely’ Behind Coup Plot

Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmygal. Kmu.gov.ua (CC BY 4.0)

Russia is “absolutely” behind an alleged coup plot in Ukraine that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy disclosed last week, the Ukrainian prime minister said Tuesday.

Zelenskiy said Friday that Kiev is “entirely prepared” for a potential Russian invasion and added that Ukrainian security services had obtained audio recordings of discussions of a Dec. 1-2 coup. He did not accuse Russia of involvement, though he did say it involved Russian citizens.

“Absolutely,” Reuters quoted Prime Minister Denys Shmygal as saying when asked if the Russian state was behind the alleged coup plot.

We have secret data which demonstrates the special intentions [to foment a coup],” Shmygal said on a visit to Brussels for talks with top EU officials.

The Ukrainian prime minister added that intelligence had picked up activities of “outside powers” trying to influence Ukraine’s political opposition to whip up popular discontent and a government overthrow.

We understand there was influence from outside to enforce protests in Kiev, to make them stronger. Our secret service is making a special investigation,” Shmygal said.

The Kremlin denied any involvement Friday.

“We don’t engage in that,” Interfax quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as telling reporters.

Zelenskiy on Friday called on Putin to specifically deny that Russia is “not planning” to invade Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Putin declined to say whether he planned to move Russian troops across Ukraine’s border. Putin blamed Western and Ukrainian military exercises along with other moves for threatening Russia’s security.

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