Russians planning coup in Ukraine next week, Kiev says

Ukraine has uncovered a plot for an attempted coup d’état with the participation of Russians, which was due to take place next week, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told a press conference on Friday.

Zelenskiy did not give full details of the coup plot and did not accuse the Russian state of involvement, although he also spoke at length at the press conference in a threat of Russian military escalation, and said Ukraine would be ready for it.

The Kremlin quickly denied any role in a coup plot, saying it had no intention of taking part in such acts.

Russia has built up forces near its border with Ukraine. Kiev, the United States and NATO have expressed concerns over a possible Russian attack in recent days – a suggestion the Kremlin has dismissed as bogus and fear-mongering.

“We have challenges not only from the Russian Federation and possible escalation – we have big internal challenges. I have received information that a coup will take place in our country on December 1 and 2,” he said. Zelenskiy said.

Ukraine had audio recordings as evidence of the coup plot, Zelenskiy added.

Moscow and Kiev have traded responsibility for rising tensions in recent weeks, raising fears that a long-standing conflict between Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists could escalate into yet another open war.

“We are in full control of our borders and are fully prepared for any escalation,” Zelenskiy said.

Ukraine’s military intelligence chief told the Military Times newspaper last week that Russia has more than 92,000 troops massed around Ukraine’s borders and is preparing for an attack by late January or early February.

Ukraine, which is keen to join the NATO military alliance, received a large batch of US ammunition and Javelin missiles earlier this year, drawing criticism from Moscow.

Zelenskiy also said his chief of staff Andriy Yermak would soon contact Russian officials about the standoff between the two countries. Separately, Yermak said he would contact senior Kremlin official Dmitry Kozak.


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