Ukraine has charged Russia with backing a newly uncovered coup attempt that was set for next week against President Volodymyr Zelensky. The Hill reports based on the Ukrainian presidency's office that "The individuals, which included Russians and Ukrainians, reportedly discussed their plans while mentioning Rinat Akhmetov, the richest man in the country, as a person that could help with the plot."
Claiming to have audio recordings as proof, though offering no other evidence, Zelensky said at a press conference Friday, "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 Dec. 1-2."
"We have audio recordings in which representatives of Russia and Rinat Akhmetov discuss the coup," Zelensky added. "We are in full control of our borders and are fully prepared for any escalation," he emphasized.
His words at the press conference focused heavily on recent Western media reports that Russia is preparing forces in a troop build-up near Ukraine. The reports have said an estimated 92,000 Russian soldiers have mustered in the region, though the Kremlin has slammed the claims as hype and disinformation, saying it shouldn't be of any external power's concern where it chooses to move or train its troops within Russia's own sovereign border.
Zelensky, who is in the midst of what's been dubbed a "de-oligarchization" campaign named Akhmetov, who is a coal and steel tycoon, though reportedly denied his actual involvement in the alleged coup plotting. According to details in Axios:
He said they mentioned trying to obtain the support of Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, the Post reported.
Zelensky said Akhmetov wasn't involved in the plot, but he believed the billionaire was "being dragged into the war against Ukraine." Zelensky has targeted Ukranian oligarchs amid his effort to establish his government's authority.
Zelensky warned as part of his comments that "you can’t fight against your people and the president who was elected by the citizens of Ukraine." Notably the Ukrainian president at one point acknowledged that the conflict and fighting in Donbas is not at this point actually worse than last spring. At another point in the lengthy remarks he also said:
"I don't believe in coups," Zelenskyi added. "I am not Yanukovych, I will not escape anywhere."
Given the announcement of the uncovering of an imminent coup attempt is being so closely linked to Russia's alleged military build-up threatening Ukraine with possible "invasion" (as hyped MSM headlines have suggested), also at a moment of EU-Belarus soaring tensions which has also involved Russia, the timing is at the very least suspicious.
He also said that he wouldn't escape like Yanukovich. Thus agreeing that there was the coup d'etat in 2014.— Nelly (@NellyNovograd) November 26, 2021
Certainly the mere claim itself, whether it's verified or not, will serve in the short term to continue the immense Western pressure and suspicion aimed at Russia. For example The Washington Post headline in the wake of Zelensky's presser reads bluntly, Zelenskey accused Russia of plotting a coup against him.
As for Moscow it quickly rejected the accusation, with Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov firmly stating that "Russia has never been involved in any way in such a case."