UK claim on future puppet leader has to be taken seriously - Ukraine adviser

KYIV, Jan 23 (Reuters) - British accusations that Russia was planning to install a puppet government in Ukraine need to be taken seriously and underscore that the West must now act tough towards Russia, a Ukrainian adviser to the presidential office told Reuters on Sunday.

Mykhailo Podolyak acknowledged there was doubt among Ukrainians as to whether former lawmaker Yevhen Murayev - named by Britain's foreign ministry as a candidate to head a puppet government - was "too ridiculous a figure" to be taken seriously as the Kremlin's pick to lead Ukraine after any invasion.

But he added that Russia had propped up previously minor figures in leadership positions in annexed Crimea and separatist-held Donbass. Therefore "one should take this information as seriously as possible", he said in a message.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; writing by Matthias Williams Editing by Gareth Jones)