Brussels (Brussels Morning) Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said today that Ukrainian intelligence agencies had uncovered evidence of a plot to overthrow his government, based on recordings of Russian individuals.
The recordings of Russian nationals reportedly reveals them discussing involving Ukrainian business magnate Rinat Akhmetov in their coup, which was supposed to take place next week. Zelensky provided no further details about the plot.
Nor did Zelensky directly accuse Moscow of backing the coup plans, and the Kremlin publicly denied having any role in the plot. Akhmetov rejected Zelensky’s claims, saying the president’s account was an “absolute lie”.
“I am outraged by the spread of this lie, no matter what the president’s motives are,” he said in a statement. “As a Ukrainian citizen, the country’s biggest investor, taxpayer, and employer, I will continue to defend a free Ukraine, a free economy, democracy, and freedom of speech.”
Zelensky’s accusations come at a time of heightened tensions between Kiev and Moscow, with US intelligence warning other Western allies that Russia is preparing to enable a whole-scale invasion of Ukraine starting early next year. Russian President Vladimir Putin denied any such plans were in place.
“We are in full control of our borders and are fully prepared for any escalation”, Zelenski declared, referring to the growing threat of Russian hostilities, while he stressed that Ukraine would be ready should it happen.
Russia, on the other hand, suspects that Ukraine will attempt to recapture the territory currently held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014. Kiev has denied having any intention of recapturing its territory by force.