The head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Kyrylo Budanov, said that at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia did not know who to appoint as the new "president" of Ukraine in the event of the capture of Kyiv. One of the options was ousted president Viktor Yanukovych.
He told about this on the air of the telethon.
"Maybe my answer will surprise you, but at the beginning of the war, Russia had not decided who to appoint as the president of Ukraine. They had several options as to who should become [president], but there was no final decision. One of the most ridiculous, in my opinion, was the option of Yanukovychʼs return," Budanov said.
According to him, Yanukovych was really being prepared for this, although he himself was not happy with such an idea. However, Ukrainian intelligence had information about this.
- The Washington Post wrote that during Russiaʼs full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) was preparing two puppet governments — headed by fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych for Kyiv and his former allies for southeastern Ukraine.
- One group headed by Yanukovych was in Belarus. He arrived there on March 7. After that, Yanukovych wrote an open letter to Zelensky, in which he called on him to stop the war, surrender and sign peace agreements. Ukrainian intelligence assures that during the week the head of Yanukovychʼs security spoke at least three times with a senior FSB officer who dealt with Ukraine.