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Case Against Suspects in Putin Slay Plot Called Flimsy at Best

There is little evidence showing that two men arrested in Ukraine with bomb-making equipment were actually plotting to assassinate President-elect Vladimir Putin, Kommersant reported Monday.

Investigators have no proof other than the videos that aired on Channel One on Feb. 27, in which the two suspects, Ilya Pyanzin and Adam Osmayev, admitted to the plot, an unnamed police source told the newspaper.

Pyanzin and Osmayev were apprehended in the wake of a Jan. 4 apartment explosion in Odessa that killed a third suspect.

The source told Kommersant that the existing evidence, which includes materials for building explosives and a laptop with videos and photographs, does not offer definitive proof that the suspects arrested in the case were planning an assassination.

The source said information not released by the Ukrainian Security Service indicates only that the suspects were learning to make explosives and do not prove that any sort of terror act was being planned.

The videos and photographs show reconnaissance on the prime minister's movements, pictures of several large buildings in Odessa, and video of an unsuccessful attempt by the suspects to destroy a pipe using explosives, the source said.

A spokesman for the Odessa branch of the security service, Igor Skurtov, told Kommersant that he was unable to comment on evidence in the case.

Pyanzin, who was injured in the explosion, was arrested and initially charged with illegal handling of weapons and explosives, after components for building explosive devices were found in the burnt-out apartment.

Osmayev was arrested Jan. 27, and in a taped confession aired on state-controlled Channel One he detailed a plot to kill Putin.

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