Russia claims Ukraine tried to kill Putin. 5 other times the Russian Prez escaped assassination

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadMay 04, 2023 | 10:26

Russia claims Ukraine tried to kill Putin. 5 other times the Russian Prez escaped assassination

Russia claims Ukraine tried to assassinate Putin. Photo: Twitter/KremlinRussia_E

On May 3, Wednesday, the Russian Presidential administration came out with a dramatic statement claiming that Ukraine attempted to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin using two drones targetting the Kremlin. Moscow described the alleged attack as "a planned terrorist act and an assassination attempt on the President".

Russia has threatened to retaliate when it considers it necessary, with some in the government calling for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky's "elimination". As of now, an investigation has been opened up.


Russia's claims:

  • Moscow said that the attack was unsuccessful as President Putin was not in the Kremlin at the time. The attack reportedly took place around 2.30 am on May 3. 
  • Russian forces reportedly used radar equipment to disable the drones and there were no casualties.
  • There are two unverified videos going viral on social media of the purported incident. One of the videos shot from across the river from the Kremlin shows smoke rising over the buildings. 

  • The second video looks like it was taken from across the Red Square shows the moment a drone explodes over the roof of the Senate Palace in the Kremlin. 

  • Vladimir Putin was at his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow at the time of the alleged attack, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told a Russian state news agency. 

True or not, the Russian claim seems to be another turning point in the Ukraine-Russia war. The claim also threatens to escalate the situation for the worse. 

Ukraine denies allegations:

  • Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky who was in Finland when Russia made the claims denied Kyiv's involvement.
We don't attack Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory. We are defending our villages and cities.
- Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told media in Finland

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would take anything Russia claims with a "very large shaker of salt". 
  • Adviser to the Ukraine's Presidency, Mykhailo Podolyak claimed that Russia may have staged the attacks to justify targetting civilians in Ukraine and even be "preparing a large-scale terrorist attack".

  • He also said that it was possible the recent drone attacks at various government buildings in the Russian Federation could be indicative of guerilla activities. 
In a word, something is happening in RF, but definitely without Ukraine's drones over the Kremlin...
- Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to Ukraine's Presidency

What does it mean? 

  • Russia also noted that the alleged drone attack came shortly before May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow, where foreign dignitaries are expected to attend. The parade will go on as planned.
  • This incident has also brought into question the security arrangement around Putin. The Russian President is considered to be largely heavily guarded, with some reports stating that at Putin's events, the airspace is often closed off. 
  • If what Moscow is claiming is indeed true, then it would bring into question the effectiveness of the Russian air defence system, since the drones were only disabled long after they entered Moscow's airspace, very close to the Kremlin. 
  • There have been several drone attacks over various buildings in Russia like Podolyak pointed out. 

Can Kyiv carry out the attack? 

Technically speaking, Ukraine does possess drones that can be launched from Kyiv and flown to Moscow. But they are more likely to be spotted by Russia's air defence before it makes its way to Moscow. 

Additionally, a former US deputy assistant secretary of defence and CIA officer, Mick Mulroy, told the BBC that if at Russian claims were true, it was still "unlikely" as Ukraine tracks Putin's movements closely and would know he was not in Moscow at the time. But he said it could be Ukraine's way of saying that it can bring the war to Russia and even its capital (if Russia's claims are true!). 

The many assassination attempts on Putin

This isn't the first time an "assassination attempt" has been made against Vladimir Putin if at all it is one. So far, there have been five other attempts to kill Putin excluding the recent one. 

  • May 2022: Ukraine's Chief of Defence Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov had revealed that there was an "unsuccessful attempt" to kill Putin during the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia war by representatives of the Caucasus. 
  • 2012: A Chechen rebel Adam Osmayev was held by Russian special forces on charges of planning to kill Putin. He was quoted as saying in a confession: 

"Our goal was to go to Moscow and try to kill Prime Minister Putin … Our deadline was after the Russian presidential election," he was then quoted as saying.

  • 2002: An Iraqi man was arrested for trying to deliver explosives to a co-conspirator to kill Putin during his visit to Azerbaijan. The man was said to have links with Afghanistan and the Chechen rebel forces. 
  • November 2002: There was another attempt on Putin's life the same year when the Russian forces found 40 kg of explosives waiting to be detonated along the motorway on which the Russian President was to pass through. 
  • 2003: The British police foiled an attempt to assassinate Putin and two men were arrested. 
Last updated: May 04, 2023 | 10:26
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