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Russia Says Arrested Man Behind Car Bomb Attack on Ukrainian Defector

Vasily Prozorov's SUV after being blown up in Moscow. Moskva News Agency

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said Tuesday that it had detained a Russian man suspected of trying to assassinate a former Ukrainian intelligence officer in a car bomb attack late last week.

Vasily Prozorov, a former member of Ukraine’s SBU security service, was injured Friday after an explosive device went off under his SUV in Moscow. The FSB said it detained an unnamed Russian citizen who is believed to have planted the bomb.

“He left for Ukraine after the start of the special military operation and was recruited by an SBU employee in October 2023,” the law enforcement agency said in a statement, using the Kremlin’s preferred term for its invasion.

"He arrived in Russia in March of this year, received parts for a radio-controlled explosive device, assembled the explosive device and after carrying out reconnaissance in the area of the address of the ex-SBU employee, carried out the car bombing," the FSB added.

In an FSB video published by state media, the detained man said he had lived in Ukraine since 2010 and was recruited by the SBU in November 2023, one month later than claimed in the law enforcement agency’s written statement.

“In February [2024], my handler informed me that the SBU head [Vasyl] Malyuk had personally instructed him to send me to Moscow and spy on a Toyota Prado, which I did,” the man, whose face was blurred, said from inside a vehicle.

“My assignment was later switched to assembling an explosive device with the help of my handler,” he continued. “At around 2:00 a.m. on [April] 9, I attached the bomb to the bottom of the car.”

Russian investigators announced last week that they had launched a criminal investigation into the bomb plot. The FSB said it was collecting additional evidence to charge the detained man with high treason, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Prozorov entered the public light in 2019 when he revealed at a press conference in Moscow that he had spied on Ukraine’s SBU for Russia after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted during a wave of demonstrations in 2014. 

Several former Ukrainian officials who collaborated with Moscow have been targeted in assassination plots both inside Russia and in occupied territories of Ukraine since the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

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