The UK will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Ukraine, but it is “extremely unlikely” that they will send troops, the British deputy prime minister said on Sunday.

Speaking to Sky News, Dominic Raab said: “We will support them (Ukraine) in defending themselves. 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.”

On the issue of sending troops to Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion, Raab said: “It’s extremely unlikely we would do that but what we can say is we’re already willing and engaging in training programmes to support Ukrainians defending themselves, that’s absolutely right.”

Late Saturday night, the UK Foreign Office announced that it has information that Russia wants to install “a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine.”

Former Ukrainian MP Yevhen Murayev is being considered as a potential candidate, according to the statement.

Russia, in response, blasted the UK “disinformation” campaign.

“The most recent disinformation circulated by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office is yet another indication that it is the NATO Members led by the Anglo-Saxon nations who are building up and escalating tensions around Ukraine,” a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

It called on the UK Foreign Office to end “provocative activities” and stop spreading “nonsense”.

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