President of Ukraine says he discovered plot of coup against him involving Russians

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The President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, said this Friday (26), at a press conference, that he had discovered a plan for a coup d’état with the participation of Russians scheduled to take place next week.

The Ukrainian leader did not give details or accuse the Russian government of involvement, even though he highlighted the threat of military escalation from the Kremlin — according to him, Ukraine would be ready for that.

Russia promptly denied any role in a conspiracy action and stated that it had no intention of participating in such acts. In recent weeks, Moscow has increased the number of troops on the Ukrainian border, prompting demonstrations by Kiev, the US and NATO, the Western military alliance, about an eventual Russian attack — a suggestion the Kremlin dismissed as false and alarmist.

The White House, for example, through Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said it feared a repeat of 2014 — when, reacting to the coup that toppled the pro-Moscow government in Kiev, Russia annexed Crimea and fomented the civil war it waged eastern Ukrainian a land ruled by separatists.

“We have challenges not only from Russia and a possible escalation — we have big internal challenges. I received information that a coup d’état would take place in our country between December 1 and 2,” said Zelenski, who added that Ukraine has audio recordings such as evidence of coup plans.

Moscow and Kiev exchange accusations over rising tensions in recent weeks, raising fears that the conflict between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists could erupt into a new open war. “We are in full control of our borders and are fully prepared for any escalation,” Zelenski said.

Ukraine’s military intelligence chief told the Military Times website last week that Russia has more than 92,000 troops concentrated around the country’s borders and would be preparing an attack for late January or early February. The Kremlin does not deny and says that how it positions its forces is its problem, but again denying that it intends to attack its neighbor.

Ukraine, which seeks to join NATO, received a large shipment of US munitions and Javelin missiles earlier this year, drawing criticism from Moscow. Zelenski also said that his chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, would soon contact Russian officials about the impasse between the countries. Separately, Yermak said he would speak with senior Kremlin official Dmitry Kozak.

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