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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: Andy Buchanan/Pool/Getty Images

Ukraine has uncovered a group of Russians and Ukrainians plotting an attempted coup for next week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told reporters Friday, the Washington Post reported.

Driving the news: Zelensky didn't accuse the Russian government of involvement in the purposed coup, and Kremlin denied any role, Reuters reported.

  • Zelensky told reporters during a lengthy news conference for local and international media that Ukrainian security services have audio recordings of the alleged plotters talking about their plans.
  • He said they mentioned trying to obtain the support of Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov, the Post reported.
  • Zelensky said Akhmetov wasn't involved in the plot, but he believed the billionaire was "being dragged into the war against Ukraine." Zelensky has targeted Ukranian oligarchs amid his effort to establish his government's authority.

The big picture: Zelensky's warning about the alleged coup plot comes amid escalating tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

  • U.S. and NATO officials have warned Russia is planning for a potential large-scale invasion of Ukraine early next year.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned earlier this month "any escalatory or aggressive actions" by Russia "would be of grave concern."
  • Zelensky said Friday Ukraine is "in full control of our borders and are fully prepared for any escalation," per Reuters.

Go deeper

Biden boxed in on Ukraine

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration is pushing to get Congress, Europe and Ukraine on the same page as it tries to deter Russia from invading Ukraine — all while knowing that the decisive factor will ultimately be the whims of Vladimir Putin.

Why it matters: Officials from virtually all sides are warning that the risk of a large-scale, conventional war on the European continent is greater than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Few agree on how to stop it.

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

U.S. confirms Russia arrested REvil ransomware hackers

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking in Moscow in June 2021. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/TASS via Getty Images

Russia's security agency said Friday it arrested members of the Russia-based cyber gang REvil that was responsible for multiple massive ransomware attacks against U.S. companies last year.

The latest: A senior administration official confirmed on Friday afternoon that Russia informed the U.S. that it arrested the alleged hackers, including an individual responsible for the cyberattack that crippled the Colonial Pipeline.

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.