Audio intercepts suggest energy mogul Akhmetov being drawn into coup plot - Zelenskyy
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine claims Ukrainian security agencies have obtained intelligence about the ongoing talks between representatives of Ukraine and Russia on the possible participation of Rinat Akhmetov in the coup.
The statement came during Zelenskyy's press marathon "Thirty questions to the President of Ukraine" on Friday, November 26, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
Akhmetov is allegedly being drawn into it by someone from his entourage, Zelenskyy added, stopping short of exposing any specific names.
"There are great internal challenges our state is facing, already being recorded by foreign intelligence agencies. I'll tell you frankly, I'm living within this process. For example, I received information that on the 1st (of December – ed.) there will be a coup d'etat in our country. I think this is important information, December 1-2 … it's not only intelligence that we have, it's also audio intercepts, where representatives of Ukraine, so to speak, discuss with representatives of Russia Rinat Akhmetov's participation in the coup in Ukraine. They suggest a billion dollars will be allocated, and so on. I believe that this is a setup targeting businessman Rinat Akhmetov, I believe that this is an operation. He is being dragged into the war against the state of Ukraine. I think he started it, I think it will be a big mistake for him, because you can't fight against your people, against the president who was elected by the people of Ukraine," the head of state said.
Zelenskyy also invited Akhmetov to the President's Office for a meeting to get briefed on details.
"I'm no Yanukovych, I won't run anywhere," the president concluded.
Answering a clarifying question about the audio intercepts, the president said: "There is a recording where people from Ukraine are heard talking. There is an audio recording. Let's say, it's a sound recording. It can be a chat messenger, anything, I'm not ready to talk about it. Some names are being discussed, and his (Akhmetov's – ed.) is, too. That's why I'm saying that I believe this is a dangerous situation and he is being dragged into this thing. Had this been happening in another country, I won't say in which one, someone would have already come after him, you understand what would be happening, but we're smart… I think he should look into this, listen to or read this all. There is a printed version of these communications. In addition to this conversation, there is actually a human intelligence report on someone willing to destabilize our country internally. I don't think our society wants that. The country doesn't want that. It's those who have lost power that do. That's what I think."
When asked if MP Vadym Novinsky was involved in the communications mentioned, Zelensky said: "No. I don't think he wants that."