Russia Claims Ukraine Tried to Assassinate Putin in Drone Attack, Threatens Retaliation

On Wednesday, Russia accused Ukraine of launching a drone attack on the Kremlin in a failed attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, Reuters reports.

A high-ranking Ukrainian presidential official denied any involvement in the alleged incident, which marks the most serious accusation made by Russia against Ukraine since it commenced its “military operation” in the country in Feb 2022.

The Kremlin stated that two drones targeted Putin’s residence within the Kremlin’s fortified walls but were neutralized by “electronic warfare systems, the drones were disabled.”

“Two unmanned aerial vehicles were aimed at the Kremlin. As a result of timely actions taken by the military and special services with the use of radar warfare systems, the devices were put out of action,” the statement said. “We consider this a preplanned terrorist action and an attempt against the Russian president.”

Russia hinted that it could use this alleged attack as justification for escalating its conflict with Ukraine.

“The Russian side reserves the right to take retaliatory measures where and when it sees fit,” the Kremlin added in the statement.

The Kremlin described the incident as a “planned terrorist act and an attempt on the president’s life” and emphasized that it occurred just before Victory Day and the May 9 Parade, which is expected to host foreign guests.

A Telegram channel linked to Russian law enforcement agencies called Baza released a video showing a flying object approaching the dome of the Kremlin Senate building near Red Square, which is the site of the Victory Day parade.

The object then explodes in a bright flash just before reaching it.

The presidential administration reported that drone fragments were scattered across the Kremlin complex, but no casualties or material damage occurred.

The president’s office confirmed that both unmanned aircraft fell on Kremlin grounds in Moscow late on Tuesday night, without affecting Putin’s schedule.

“The Russian president was not harmed as a result of the terrorist attack. His schedule has not changed and continues as usual,” the presidential press service said on Wednesday.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior Ukrainian official, rejected Russia’s claim that Ukraine perpetrated the attack, tweeting that Ukraine has fought “an exclusively defensive war” against Russia and does not target areas within Russian territory.

“This does not solve any military issue. But it gives [Russia] grounds to justify its attacks on civilians,” Podolyak said, alleging that Moscow’s claims about the drone attack were “predictable” and that Russia is “clearly” planning for a “large-scale terrorist attack.”