Kyiv says it foiled Russian plot targeting Zelensky

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(Reuters) – The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced on Tuesday the arrest of two agents operating on behalf of Russia within the National Guard with the aim of assassinating President Volodimir Zelensky.

The two men, both colonels, had been recruited by the FSB, the Russian Security Service, and had transmitted confidential information to Moscow, the SBU said on the messaging platform Telegram.

Their mission was to enlist a member of the presidential guard close enough to Volodimir Zelensky to take him hostage and then execute him, the SBU added.

“This terrorist attack, supposed to be a gift to (Vladimir) Putin for his inauguration, was in fact a failure of the Russian special services,” said SBU director Vasyl Maliouk, quoted by the agency on Telegram.

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Moscow had no immediate comment.

Vladimir Putin was inaugurated on Tuesday for a new six-year term at the head of Russia.

The Kremlin made no comment last month on the arrest in Poland of a man also accused of working with Russian secret services in the assassination of Zelensky.

Last fall, the Ukrainian president declared that Ukrainian services had foiled at least five Russian plots aimed at assassinating him.

According to the SBU, the two captured agents also planned to eliminate Vasyl Maliouk as well as Kyrylo Boudanov, the head of military intelligence whose assassination was to occur before Orthodox Easter, celebrated last Sunday.

The two colonels were seeking to inform Russia of Kyrylo Budanov’s whereabouts in order to help Russian forces carry out a missile and drone raid there, the SBU said.

(Yuliia Dysa, Jean-Stéphane Brosse for the French version, edited by Kate Entringer)


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