British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday that Russia would face serious economic sanctions if it tried to install a pro-Russian puppet government in Ukraine.

He assured the UK that it stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, but that it was “extremely unlikely” to send troops to the Ukraine-Russia border.

Late on Saturday evening, the British Foreign Office revealed that it had information indicating that Russia wants to install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev, and that former Ukrainian MP Yevvn Murrayev is being seen as a potential candidate. In addition, Russian intelligence services are also expected to maintain contacts with other former Ukrainian politicians.

Raab told Sky News that the UK and other Western countries would impose economic and financial sanctions on Russia if it attacked Ukraine. “We will support them (the Ukrainians – PAP) in defending themselves. But also (loudly) we say, together with the international community and NATO allies in the West, that we stand shoulder to shoulder and there will be very serious consequences if Russia makes a commitment,” said the Deputy Prime Minister ” Such a move is trying to make an invasion and also by setting up a puppet regime there.”

Asked whether Britain would send troops if Russia invaded, Raab replied: “It is highly unlikely that we will, but what we can say is that we are already prepared and engaged in training programs to support the Ukrainians in their own defense. That is certainly correct.”

Meanwhile, Murrayev, of the formerly pro-Russian Party of Regions cited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Observer that he would be an unlikely candidate to head the Moscow puppet government. “It seems that the British Foreign Office confused everything. This is not very logical. I am forbidden to enter Russia. And this is not all, because the money of my father’s company was also confiscated” – he said. (PAP)

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