Russian plot to assassinate Zelensky foiled, Ukraine intelligence agents say

The failed kidnap and killing was supposed to be a ‘gift’ to Vladimir Putin ahead of his inauguration, the head of Ukraine’s secret service claimed

Barney Davis
Tuesday 07 May 2024 16:03 BST
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Ukraine says they foiled Russian attempt to kidnap, kill Zelensky

Ukrainian intelligence agents say they have foiled a Russian plot to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine’s SBU State Security Service said it had caught Russian agents within the Ukrainian state guard plotting the kidnap and assassination of the president and other senior governmental officials.

The head of the SBU, Vasyl Malyuk said the failed assassination was supposed to be a “gift” to Vladimir Putin ahead of his inauguration on Tuesday.

The force said they arrested the two suspected “moles” who they believe had been recruited by Russia before its invasion.

Russian saboteurs are confronted in the woods by the Ukrainian SBU
Russian saboteurs are confronted in the woods by the Ukrainian SBU (SBU)

The SBU claimed on Telegram that a Russian secret agent had passed on coordinates of a safe house ahead of a planned rocket attack. The force added Russia had planned to destroy all traces of the drone used to target the president with another missile.

Without providing evidence, they wrote: “The enemy was actively developing plans to eliminate President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“One of the tasks of the FSB intelligence network was to search for executors among the military close to the protection of the president, who could take the head of state hostage and later kill him.

The Ukrainians parade one of the suspected moles
The Ukrainians parade one of the suspected moles (SBU)

“In addition to Volodymyr Zelensky, the enemy planned to eliminate the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Vasyl Malyuk, the head of the state administration of Ukraine, Kyryll Budanov and other high-ranking officials.”

Mr Zelensky was the primary target
Mr Zelensky was the primary target (AP)

Mr Malyuk said: “A limited number of people knew about our special operation, and I personally monitored its progress.

“The terrorist attack, which was supposed to be a gift to Putin before the inauguration, was actually a failure of the Russian special services.

“But we must not forget, the enemy is strong and experienced, he cannot be underestimated. We will continue to work ahead of time, so that every traitor receives the well-deserved court sentences.”

Arrests made by SBU
Arrests made by SBU (SBU)

The SBU claimed a search of the “intruders” found the “relevant means of destruction” and other evidence of criminal activity.

They said the two officers were arrested on suspicion of treason committed under martial law and preparation for a terrorist act. Both offences carry a life sentence, the statement read.

Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ukrainian claims of Russian efforts to kill Mr Zelensky are not new. Mr Zelensky said in 2022 there had been at least 10 attempts to assassinate him.

Also, prosecutors in Poland said last month a Polish man had been arrested on allegations of being ready to spy on behalf of Russia’s military intelligence in an alleged plot to assassinate Mr Zelensky.

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