'Highly Likely' Again? Lavrov Lambasts UK Claims About Russia Plotting Coup in Ukraine
10:31 GMT 10.02.2022 (Updated: 15:24 GMT 28.05.2023)
© REUTERS / GLEB GARANICHA building, which is located on the opposite side of a street, is reflected in a sign hanging on the facade of the British Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine January 24, 2022. The British Embassy in Ukraine said some staff and dependants were being withdrawn from Kyiv amid tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
© REUTERS / GLEB GARANICH
Both the United States and the United Kingdom have withdrawn some embassy staffers and members of their families from Ukraine over the alleged "threat" coming from Russia.
Claims that Moscow is preparing a coup or seeks to install a "pro-Russian" puppet government in Ukraine are part of a series of "highly likely" accusations made by the West, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday after talks with his UK counterpart Liz Truss.
The foreign minister described the Western narrative regarding Ukraine as an attempt to fuel drama and "create a tragedy that, however, looks more like a comedy".
Last month, the UK Foreign Office claimed that it had exposed "evidence" of a plot to install a pro-Moscow government in Ukraine, with British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab threatening Russia with "serious consequences". Moscow has dismissed the claims as disinformation.
Russia's top diplomat then warned that Washington and London may be up to something if they are evacuating staffers from their respective embassies in Ukraine.
"We will probably also advise non-essential personnel at our diplomatic institutions to go home for a while," Lavrov continued, commenting on the actions of the US and the UK.
Both Washington and London have evacuated some embassy staffers from Ukraine. The UK said it did so due to the "growing threat" allegedly coming from Russia, and the US explained that the decision to send home its diplomats' families was made "out of an abundance of caution" in light of the tense situation over Ukraine.
During his Thursday remarks, Lavrov outlined that Russia does not want to threaten anyone, instead it is Moscow that is being threatened.
"Look at our public statements, not a single threat anywhere," Lavrov underlined. "We are the ones being threatened, including by Minister Truss in her recent address to the [UK] House of Commons, and today she has reiterated [what she said there]."
Lavrov also said it was "regrettable" that demands that Russia remove its troops from its own territory kept coming during the talks with Liz Truss.
The West continues to accuse Russia of "amassing troops" near the border with Ukraine and claim that Moscow is planning to "invade" the neighbouring country. Russia has repeatedly underlined that it isn't threatening anyone, and the "invasion" claims are nothing short of provocations.
At the same time, the NATO military buildup in Eastern Europe that is seen in the wake of the purported "invasion" does raise security concerns in Moscow, the Kremlin has stressed, demanding that the West provide legal guarantees of NATO not expanding eastwards or deploying offensive weapons in Eastern Europe.
Over the course of the past several weeks, Russia and the West have been engaged in a tense security dialogue.
Among its recent developments, the EU has sent its response to Russian request to explain its view on security indivisibility in light of the West's reluctance to step away from the "open door" policy. Lavrov, however, said on Thursday that every country should provide its response instead of the EU crafting a "collective response", or else the dialogue might fail.
"As I heard, instead of honest answers from each country, the European Union wants to write a collective paper, where all the nuances of national positions will be leveled. I am convinced that in this case we will not be able to talk. Then we will probably think about how to get out of this situation," Lavrov told a press conference.
Responding to Russia's demands, NATO and the US continue to insist that the alliance will not step away from its "open door" policy, and that Ukraine is free to choose its defence blocs.
The UK's Liz Truss, in her turn, said on Thursday that further security talks between Russia and the West should be held, and NATO "has put proposals on the table". She also asserted that no country is undermining Russia’s security.