Senior UK minister warns Russia of sanctions if it installs puppet regime in Ukraine

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British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab on Sunday warned of "serious consequences" for Russia if it attempts to install a puppet government in Ukraine, not long after the British government accused the Kremlin of such plans.

Raab reiterated the British government's support of Ukrainian sovereignty while appearing on Sky News on Sunday, saying that the U.K. will stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the country. However, Raab said it was "extremely unlikely" that British soldiers would be sent to the Russian border.

"We will support them in defending themselves," Raab said. ""But also, to the international community, to NATO allies in the West, we're standing shoulder to shoulder saying there will be very serious consequences if Russia takes this move to try and invade and also install a puppet regime."

When asked if the U.K. would send troops if Ukraine is invaded, Raab said, "It's extremely unlikely we would do that but what we can say is we're already willing and engaging in training programs to support Ukrainians defending themselves, that's absolutely right."

On Saturday, the U.K.'s Foreign Office released a statement saying it had obtained information indicating that the Russian government was planning on invading the Ukraine and installing a puppet government.

"Russia must de-escalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy," British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement Saturday. "As the UK and our partners have said repeatedly, any Russian military incursion into Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake with severe costs."

According to the British government, if Russia installed a new leader, it would most likely be pro-Russian former Ukrainian parliament member Yevhen Murayev.

Speaking to Reuters, Murayev denied the British government's claims, calling the accusation "disinformation" and "stupid," given that he was placed under Russian sanctions a few years ago.

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