Ukraine says Russian plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thwarted

Ukraine says Russian plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thwarted

Kyiv, Ukraine — Ukrainian counterintelligence investigators have foiled a Russian plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other top military and political figures, Ukraine’s state security service said Tuesday. Two colonels in the State Guard of Ukraine, which protects top officials, were detained on suspicion of enacting the plan drawn up by Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, a statement said.

The colonels were recruited before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, according to the statement.

It quoted the head of the State Security Service, Vasyl Maliuk, as saying the plot foresaw an attack before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a fifth term on Tuesday. Maliuk said that he personally oversaw the top-secret operation to track the plot.

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Ukrainian claims of Russian efforts to kill Zelenskyy aren’t new. Zelensky said in 2022 there has been at least 10 attempts to assassinate him, and now the war with Russia has stretched into its third year.

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The Ukrainian statement said the Russian intelligence agents targeting Zelenskyy sought out members of the Ukrainian military close to the president’s security detail who could take the head of state hostage and later kill him. The operation was run from Moscow, it said, providing the names of three alleged Russian spies behind the conspiracy.

The broader plan was to identify the location of senior Ukrainian officials and target them with a rocket attack, followed by drones and missiles.

The two Ukrainian colonels were arrested on suspicion of treason, which carries a life sentence, the statement said.