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House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff highlighted reports by British intelligence that Russia has planned to install a “puppet government” in Ukraine as he hopes to draw attention from the international community to the issue.
The U.K.’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office on Saturday disclosed it had information suggesting the Russian plan was in the works.
“We have information that indicates the Russian government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine,” a spokesperson for the British agency said. Former Ukrainian Member of Parliament Yevhen Murayev has been considered as a potential candidate, the spokesperson added.
Schiff, D-Calif., issued a statement Sunday noting the intelligence report should “focus the global community around the imminent and real threat of a massive Russian invasion.”
“The people of Ukraine have the indisputable right to elect their own leaders, and the United States will vigorously oppose any attempt to topple and supplant the democratic government in Kyiv,” the statement said.
“While an invasion appears likely, it is not yet inevitable, and the United States must continue to work quickly along with our allies, both to reinforce Ukraine’s military deterrent and to prepare to respond if Putin goes to war.”
The White House late Saturday posted a photo on social media showing President Biden and advisers gathered at Camp David to discuss “continued Russian aggressive actions toward Ukraine.”
The president “affirmed that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States will impose swift and severe consequences on Russia with our Allies and partners,” the White House post said.
The U.S. delivered its first shipments of promised assistance to Ukraine Friday night, including “lethal” aid, as part of ongoing efforts to deter Russian invasion.
The shipment includes around 200,000 pounds of ammunition and weapons for frontline defenders. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv hailed the shipment – delivered by airplane – as part of $2.7 billion of investments made in Ukraine.
The embassy also said the shipment “demonstrates the U.S. commitment to helping Ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of growing Russian aggression.”
Fox News’ Patrick Ward and Jennifer Griffin and The Associated Press contributed to this story.