The Kremlin has ordered more than 400 Russian mercenaries operating in Kyiv to kill Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky and members of his government, The Times reported, paving the way for Moscow to take the helm.
This comes in the wake of a private militia called The Wagner Group run by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies sending in mercenaries from Africa five weeks ago tasked with removing the Ukraine government.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
Within hours of the tip-off on mercenaries reaching the Ukraine government on Saturday morning, a 36-hour “hard” curfew kicked in to hunt down the saboteurs in Kyiv amid warnings that any civilian stepping outside or seen as a Kremlin agent would risk being “liquidated”.
Mercenaries were reported earlier in February as well.
On February 19, Ukraine's military said that mercenaries had arrived in separatist-held eastern Ukraine to stage provocations in collaboration with Russia's special services.
"The purpose of these provocations will, of course, be to accuse Ukraine of further escalation," the military had said in a statement.
Back then, Ukraine had accused the Kremlin of planning to stage provocations that could lead to civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine in order to give Moscow a pretext to attack its neighbour.