The head of Russia’s Security Council accused the U.S. of plotting to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin by financing opposition parties and encouraging mass demonstrations. The claims come a week after Boris Nemtsov, a leader for the opposition, was murdered in Moscow.

Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Security Council, said in a statement, that the U.S. is funding Russian political groups under the veil of promoting civil society, just like it did with "color revolutions" in the former Soviet Union and the Arab world, according to Bloomberg. Patrushev added that Washington was also trying to inflict economic pain on Russia and trying to trigger discontent in the country by imposing sanctions over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Bloomberg reported.

“It’s clear that the White House has been counting on a sharp deterioration in Russians’ standard of living, mass protests,” Patrushev reportedly said, and declared that Russia can handle the pressure because it has “decades of experience in combating color revolutions.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the accusations “outrageous and false,” while Will Stevens, a spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Moscow, reportedly said that the sanctions are aimed at bringing a change in Russia’s policies and not in the country's leadership.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine, which began last year after Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula, has claimed over 6,000 lives, according to estimates by the U.N.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, while addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier this week, had said: “I personally – I think President Putin misinterprets a great deal of what the United States has been doing and has tried to do. We are not involved in multiple color revolutions, as he asserts, nor are we involved in a particularly personal way here. We are trying to uphold the international law with respect to the sovereignty and integrity of another nation.” 

Patrushev, an ex-KGB officer and former head of the Russian Federal Security Service, also accused the U.S. of promoting extremism and supporting militant groups in the Middle East to undermine sovereign governments in the region.

“Our trans-Atlantic partners have a clear goal to divide the Muslim world and to weaken Russia and China at the same time,” Patrushev said, according to Bloomberg.