Britain on Saturday accused the Kremlin of seeking to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine, and said Russian intelligence officers had been in contact with a number of former Ukrainian politicians as part of plans for an invasion.

Iran Press/ Europe: The British foriegn ministry in a statement said it had information the Russian government was considering former Ukrainian lawmaker Yevhen Murayev as a potential candidate to head a pro-Russian leadership.

The British foreign ministry declined to provide evidence to back its accusations, which came at a time of high tensions between Russia and the West over Russia's massing of troops near its border with Ukraine. Moscow has insisted it has no plans to invade.

The British statement was released in the early hours of Sunday, Moscow and Kyiv time, and there was no immediate statement from the Kremlin, or from Murayev.

A foreign ministry source said it was not usual practice to share intelligence matters, and the details had only been declassified after careful consideration to deter Russian aggression.

Murayev, 45, is a pro-Russian politician who opposes Ukraine's integration with the West. According to a poll by the Razumkov’s Centre think tank conducted in December 2021, he was ranked seventh among candidates for the 2024 presidential election with 6.3 per cent support.

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