The Ukrainian president said he had received information about a Russia-backed plan to overthrow his government next week.

“We have received information that there will be a coup in our country,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyi at a press conference on Friday. He mentioned December 1st or 2nd as possible dates.

Zelenskyi made the comments in response to questions from journalists whether he feared that Russia might plan a deeper invasion of the country after annexing the Crimean region in 2014 and instigating a separatist proxy war in the Far Eastern Donbas province.

Zelenskyi also linked the alleged conspiracy with attempts by “unnamed conspirators” to exploit the media power of the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. The president did not accuse him of direct involvement, but claimed that there were records that could imply the oligarch.

“This is not only intelligence information, but also well-founded information, in which representatives of Ukraine, so to speak, discuss with representatives of Russia about Rinat Akhmetov’s participation in the coup in Ukraine,” he said.

“I think he does [Akhmetov] may not know anything about it, ”added Zelenskyi. “I invite Rinat Akhmetov, [my office] to hear the information that can be shared. “

There was no immediate comment from Akhmetov, a billionaire steel and energy tycoon whose television stations have switched from friendly reporting to harsh criticism of the president in recent weeks.

The Kremlin denied any involvement in the alleged coup plan. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, told reporters that Russia “has no plans to get involved” and “never does anything like that,” according to Interfax.


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