Ukrainian plot to assassinate RT editor-in-chief thwarted – FSB
Russian law enforcement has thwarted assassination plans targeting RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan and journalist Ksenia Sobchak, which were prepared by Ukrainian intelligence, the Federal Security Service (FSB) has announced.
In a statement on Saturday, the agency declared that, together with the Interior Ministry and the national Investigative Committee, an unspecified number of “neo-Nazis from the Paragraph 88 group who were gathering information at the work and home addresses of Simonyan and Sobchak” had been arrested.
Those detained were caught carrying out reconnaissance on Friday in Moscow and Ryazan Region, according to the FSB.
During the operation, law enforcement personnel seized a Kalashnikov assault rifle, 90 cartridges, rubber hoses, knives, brass knuckles, and handcuffs, the FSB said. Officials added that “computers with information confirming criminal intentions” were also found.
The FSB operatives also confiscated chevrons and flags, along with Nazi paraphernalia and literature, as well as communications equipment.
“The detainees confirmed that they were preparing assassinations on the instructions of the Security Service of Ukraine for a reward of 1.5 million rubles [$16,600] for each murder,” the statement said.
Simonyan has been chief editor of RT since its founding in 2005. Born and raised in the southern city of Krasnodar, she is married with three children.
Sobchak is a well-known celebrity in Russia and a former presidential candidate. The daughter of a former St. Petersburg mayor, she has known President Vladimir Putin since her childhood. Regarded as a liberal, Sobchak currently hosts a popular YouTube channel. She previously fronted the country’s most popular reality TV show, Dom 2. She is married with one child.
In April, it was reported that six alleged members of the banned terrorist group National Socialism / White Power had been arrested on suspicion of preparing to assassinate prominent Russian journalist Vladimir Solovyov. Investigators claimed that those arrested were also acting on behalf of the SBU.
The same month, Russian military blogger Maxim Fomin (Vladen Tatarsky) was murdered in a bomb attack in St. Petersburg. Local activist Darya Trepova was arrested for the crime and reportedly admitted that she had been recruited by a man linked to Ukrainian intelligence.
Last year, another Russian journalist, Darya Dugina, was assassinated by car bomb on the outskirts of Moscow. The FSB claimed that Ukrainian special services were behind the killing. The New York Times reported that US government officials also believe Kiev was responsible.