Ukraine President Accuses Russia of Preparing Coup

  • Ukraine’s president said a coup involving Russians was being planned for early December, Reuters reported.
  • This came as Russia has prompted alarm by amassing thousands of troops along Ukraine’s borders.
  • Experts also told Insider that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was a “very real possibility.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskey on Friday said a group of Russians and Ukrainians were planning to stage a coup as early as next week, Reuters reported.

Speaking at a press conference, Zelensky said: “We have challenges not only from the Russian Federation and possible escalation — we have big internal challenges. I received information that a coup d’etat will take place in our country on December 1-2.”

When asked by a reporter whether he thought the Kremlin was involved in the alleged plot, Zelensky replied, “I’m sorry, I can’t talk about it.” 

Zelensky also said that the plotters sought the assistance of Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, without explicitly accusing the business magnate of involvement. 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied that the Russian government was involved in any such plan.

“Russia never engages in such things. There have never been such plans,” Peskov said, per The Washington Post.  

Zelensky’s claims of a coup plot came as Russia has stoked fears of an invasion by amassing tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s borders. 

The US has warned allies that Russia may decide to invade Ukraine in the next few months, Bloomberg reported this week. Experts also told Insider’s Ryan Pickrell that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is a “very real possibility.”

Ukraine’s defense ministry warned this week that Russia is increasing its “combat readiness” in Ukraine. The head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency also told Military Times last week that Russia already has around 100,000 troops on its borders.

The Kremlin has vehemently denied any plans to invade Ukraine, while blaming NATO and the West for increased tensions. Though Ukraine is not a full NATO member, it maintains a robust partnership with the alliance. Ukraine has sought to join NATO for years, a move that Russia is fervently opposed to.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last Thursday accused the West of not respecting its “red lines” when it comes to Ukraine. The Kremlin in September warned that NATO expanding military infrastructure in Ukraine would cross “red lines” for Putin. Russia has also denounced NATO and the US over increased military activity in the Black Sea region.

Relations between the US and Russia have steadily declined in recent years, and Ukraine has been at the heart of the contentious dynamic. In 2014, Russian forces entered Crimea and it was unilaterally annexed by Putin — prompting global condemnation. That same year, a war began between Kremlin-backed rebels and Ukrainian troops in the eastern Donbass region. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the conflict, which has claimed over 13,000 lives. 

The recent Russian military activity along Ukraine’s borders mirrors a similar buildup of troops in the spring, which also prompted fears of the Kremlin planning an invasion. 

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