Russia accuses Ukraine of attempting to assassinate Vladimir Putin

Russia accused Ukraine on Wednesday of making an attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin in a late-night drone assault on the Kremlin, vowing to take retaliatory motion. However Kyiv denied any duty.

Putin’s press service mentioned two Ukrainian drones attacked the Kremlin in a single day however had been shot down by Russia’s army and secret companies, which it mentioned “acted in a well timed style”.

The Kremlin described the incident as “a deliberate terrorist assault and tried assassination of the president of Russia” forward of the Victory Day parade on adjoining Crimson Sq. subsequent Tuesday.

“Russia reserves the correct to take retaliatory measures the place and when it sees match,” the Kremlin mentioned.

If confirmed, the obvious try on Putin’s life and the acknowledgment from the Kremlin would mark a unprecedented admission of Russian vulnerability. It will even be one in every of Kyiv’s most daring strikes since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

However Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected any suggestion of involvement. “We combat solely on our personal territory . . . We don’t have sufficient weapons for this,” he mentioned on Wednesday. “We didn’t assault Putin.”

His adviser Mykhailo Podolyak mentioned the claims “clearly point out the preparation of a large-scale terrorist provocation by Russia within the coming days”. 

An American official mentioned the US was wanting into the report of the assault however was unable “to validate its authenticity presently”.

Putin was not within the constructing on the time and was working as an alternative from his residence exterior Moscow, mentioned his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

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Moscow is bracing for a Ukrainian counter-offensive aimed toward recapturing misplaced territory, with dozens of explosions reported in Ukraine and close to Russian-occupied Crimea early on Wednesday.

Russia had initially hoped to seize Kyiv in a blitzkrieg lasting a matter of days, however has discovered itself slowed down in grinding attritional warfare marked by a collection of humiliating battlefield defeats.

In current months, Ukraine has carried out audacious drone strikes behind enemy strains, focusing on gasoline depots and army bases, a few of which had been a number of hundred kilometres into Russian territory.

Whereas it was not instantly clear on Wednesday whether or not the alleged assault really occurred, pro-Kremlin accounts on social media posted footage of what seemed to be a drone flying low over Putin’s residence, then exploding in a ball of flames.

Different movies confirmed what seemed to be anti-aircraft hearth over the Kremlin’s golden-domed medieval church buildings late at evening.

The Kremlin mentioned Putin continued to observe his standard work schedule from his residence exterior Moscow on Wednesday, and that no casualties or harm had been sustained through the alleged assault.

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Middle for Evaluation of Methods and Applied sciences, a Moscow defence think-tank, mentioned the drones might have been bought commercially and outfitted with explosives.

He added {that a} Ukrainian group working covertly in Russia might have launched the drones from someplace close to Moscow, thus serving to them to evade detection by flying them over a shorter distance. The small variety of drones used advised the assault was unlikely to be state-backed, he added.

Ukraine additionally has the potential to fly a drone all the best way to Moscow, in response to a Ukrainian engineer who builds drones to army specs.

“It’s not troublesome to construct a drone with an 800km vary, aiming it is the troublesome process,” he mentioned.

Footage emerged this 12 months of two Pantsir air defence programs within the Kremlin, in addition to others on the defence ministry’s close by headquarters in Moscow. Russia additionally put in Pantsirs at Putin’s official dwelling exterior Moscow, a bucolic residence within the north of the nation, and a ski resort close to the Black Sea the place he spends time, in response to Russian unbiased media.

The Ukrainian engineer mentioned the Russian air defences’ obvious failure to cease the drones might have been the results of visibility limitations at evening.

“Throughout the day, anti-aircraft programs use optical sights, so hitting a drone is simple, however at evening they don’t seem to be straightforward targets,” he added.

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