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Friday, May 31, 2024

Ukraine tried to assassinate Putin by drone, Kremlin says

The accusation, which the Kremlin made without providing evidence, was the latest in a string of reported incidents far from the war’s front lines. Kyiv said it had nothing to do with the alleged incident and suggested it could be used as a pretext for a new Russian attack in Ukraine.

Russia claimed Wednesday that Ukraine tried to assassinate President Vladimir Putin in an overnight drone attack on the Kremlin, news that drew denials from Kyiv and furious demands for retaliation from nationalists in Moscow.

The accusation, which the Kremlin made without providing evidence, was the latest in a string of reported incidents far from the war’s front lines. Kyiv said it had nothing to do with the alleged incident and suggested it could be used as a pretext for a new Russian attack in Ukraine.

Read more: Top US general predicts Ukraine conflict duration

The U.S. had no notice if there was a drone attack against the Kremlin by Ukraine, three U.S. officials said. Two of the officials expressed skepticism that a drone could get that close to the Kremlin given that so many air defense systems protect Russia.

An attack on the heart of Moscow, even if it is foiled, would be a dramatic illustration of Russian vulnerability ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive that will seek to push the Kremlin’s forces out of occupied land.

Russian military and special services disabled two attacking drones, sending debris crashing onto the grounds of the seat of government, the Kremlin said in a statement on its website.

It blamed the alleged attack, in which it said no one was hurt, on Ukraine.

“We view these actions as a planned terrorist attack and an assassination attempt targeting the President, carried out ahead of Victory Day,” the statement said, referring to the celebration next Tuesday of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

“Russia reserves the right to take countermeasures wherever and whenever it deems appropriate,” it added.

Read more: Ukraine can’t join NATO now – Member State’s President

Videos circulated widely on social media Wednesday showing an object exploding over the Kremlin, the building’s roof on fire and smoke rising from the area.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied his country was behind the attack.

“We are not attacking Putin or Moscow,” he said at a news conference in the Finnish capital, Helsinki, where he was meeting the prime ministers of four Nordic nations.

“We are fighting on our own territory, defending our villages and cities,” he said. “We do not have enough weapons even for this. That is why we do not use them elsewhere. We have a deficit. We cannot use everything and everywhere.”