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Ukraine Says Thwarted Russian Plot to Kill Zelensky

The arrest of a Ukrainian security official suspected of trying to kill Zelensky. Security Service of Ukraine

Authorities in Kyiv announced Tuesday that they detained two Ukrainian security officials involved in a plot coordinated by Russia to assassinate senior Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said in a statement that it had exposed a network of agents run by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), whose aim was to assassinate Zelensky, SBU head Vasyl Malyuk, Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) chief Kyrylo Budanov, and other senior Ukrainian political and military officials.

"The network, whose activities were supervised by the FSB from Moscow, included two colonels of the State Security Department who were leaking classified information to Russia," the SBU said in a statement.

It said Russia had worked to identify individuals close to Zelensky's security detail who could take the Ukrainian leader hostage and kill him.

According to the SBU, the recruited agents were due to share the Ukrainian officials' location with Russia, which would then launch a missile to kill the targets, eliminate the survivors with a drone, and then cover up the use of a drone with a follow-up missile strike.

The Ukrainian security service said it identified FSB agents Maxim Mishustin, Dmitry Perlin, and Alexei Kornev as "supervisors" in the thwarted operation.

Moscow has not yet commented on the SBU's claims, which could not be verified independently.

Kyiv says Zelensky has been targeted by Russia on multiple occasions, including at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022.

Polish and Ukrainian prosecutors announced last month they had detained a man suspected of aiding a Russian assassination plot on Zelensky.

In August, the SBU said a woman had been arrested for plotting to kill the Ukrainian leader by trying to uncover details of his movements outside Kyiv.

AFP contributed reporting.

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