UPDATE - Murayev Listed By UK As Potential 'Pro-Russian Leader In Kiev' Under Russian Sanctions

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 23rd January, 2022) Former Ukrainian parliament member Yevhen Murayev, named by the UK foreign office as a potential pro-Russian figure that Moscow is planning to install as the leader in Kiev, has been on the Russian sanctions list since 2018.

The British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said in a Saturday statement that the Russian government was "looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev" and that Murayev was being considered as a "potential candidate." No evidence was provided to support the claims. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the UK allegations "disinformation" and "nonsense."

According to a Russian government decree issued on December 25, 2018, Murayev has been subjected to Russian sanctions, entailing the blocking of financial assets and property on the territory of Russia. The sanctions were a response measure aimed at counteracting unfriendly actions against Russian citizens and legal entities by Ukraine and at normalizing bilateral relations.

Murayev told The Telegraph on Saturday that he was "amused" by the allegations made by the UK foreign office.

"As someone who has been under Russian sanctions for four years, barred from Russia as a national security threat and whose father got his assets frozen in Russia, I find it hard to comment on the Foreign Office's statement," Murayev said, adding "I have a hard time digesting stupidity and nonsense."

The former parliament member, who currently owns the Kiev-based Nash tv channel, also speculated that perhaps he is being labeled as pro-Russian because "someone wants to shut down yet another independent TV channel."

The Telegraph claimed that Murayev made a reference to Viktor Medvedchuk, the chairman of the political council of Ukrainian party Opposition Platform For Life, as someone Russia is considering as a "candidate" for leadership in Kiev.

The UK foreign ministry claimed that Russian intelligence was maintaining contact with numerous former Ukrainian politicians including Ukraine's ex-Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. No evidence was provided to support any of the claims.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier on Saturday that Moscow expected military and informational provocations from the West and Ukraine on the eve of the Olympic Games in Beijing.