Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Friday that he has evidence of a coup planned for next week that has potential links to Russia.
Speaking at a press conference, Zelensky said that officials had found evidence of Russia allegedly aiding an unspecified group of Russians and Ukrainians attempting to carry out the coup.
According to the Washington Examiner, Zelensky never referred to Russia by name but used the media appearance to speak of the threat of a Russian military escalation.
While he did not directly accuse the Russian government of being an active participant in the plotting, he did say that Ukraine was prepared for any military threats coming from Russia, the Independent reported.
"We have challenges not only from the Russian Federation and possible escalation – we have big internal challenges," said Zelensky. "I received information that a coup d'etat will take place in our country on Dec. 1-2."
Zelensky claimed that the name of Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov, a former member of the Ukrainian Parliament, was mentioned in audio recordings that he alleged the government had obtained detailing the plot.
"I believe [Akhmetov] is being dragged into the war against Ukraine. This will be a big mistake because you cannot fight against your people," Zelensky said.
He added: "We are in full control of our borders and are fully prepared for any escalation.”
The Kremlin responded to Zelensky’s allegations, denying Russia had any connection to the claims made by the Ukrainian president.
"Russia never had any plans to take part. In general, Russia is never engaged in that kind of thing," a Kremlin spokesperson said to reporters.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are at a low point, with the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence telling the Military Times earlier in the month that Russia had stationed 92,000 troops near its border with Ukraine.
Zelensky told reporters that he had invited Akhmetov to his office to talk about the alleged coup. He said that unlike his predecessors Viktor Yanukovich and Petro Poroshenko, he would stand his ground and “not run anywhere.”
In a statement to CNN, Akhmetov called Zelensky’s charge an “absolute lie.”
"The information made public by Volodymyr Zelensky about attempts to draw me into some kind of coup is an absolute lie,” Akhmetov said. “I am outraged by the spread of this lie, no matter what the president's motives are.
He added: "As a Ukrainian citizen, the country's biggest investor, taxpayer, and employer, I will continue to defend a free Ukraine, a free economy, democracy, and freedom of speech. I will do everything I can to prevent authoritarianism and censorship in Ukraine.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)