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16 Apr, 2024 08:34

Suspect arrested following bomb hit on Ukrainian defector – FSB

The man is alleged to have carried out the assassination attempt on the orders of Kiev’s secret service, the SBU

A suspect has been arrested in connection with last week’s attempted assassination of a former Ukrainian secret police agent in Moscow, Russian security agency, the FSB, reported on Tuesday.

A car reportedly owned by Vasily Prozorov, who previously served in the Ukrainian successor to the soviet KGB, the SBU, was blown up in Moscow last Friday. The driver survived the assassination attempt.

The suspect is a Russian national in his early 40s, who was allegedly acting on behalf of the SBU’s current leadership. His handler is a direct subordinate of the agency’s head, Vasily Malyuk, the FSB claimed.

The Russian agency alleges that the man was recruited in Ukraine last October and returned to Russia in March. He stands accused of personally assembling the radio-triggered improvised explosive device and planting it under the car.

Investigators in charge of the case are considering whether to add charges of terrorism and treason to attempted murder and illegal possession of explosives. If tried and convicted on all four counts, the man could be sentenced to life in prison, the statement said.

The FSB did not reveal the identity of the suspect, but released several video clips related to the crime. One purportedly shows the moment right after the bomb was planted last Tuesday, according to an excerpt from an interrogation also published by the agency. The suspect also said he had mostly been living in Ukraine since 2010.

Other video clips included the explosion and its aftermath, as well as the moment when the suspect was taken into custody by FSB officers.

Malyuk previously acknowledged during interviews that the SBU was believed to be masterminding assassinations of supposed enemies of Ukraine. He stopped short of claiming responsibility, but shared details about several such incidents that took place in Russia.

Prozorov has been giving interviews to the Russian media for years, saying that he used to provide intelligence to Russia after 2014 due to “ideological motives.” That year, a US-backed armed coup in Kiev deposed the elected government and replaced it with pro-Western forces influenced by radical Ukrainian nationalists – a “bunch of scoundrels,” in Prozorov’s words.

The SBU has branded its former officer a “traitor” and “monster,” and warned that it was “only a matter of time” before he ended up “just like Judas.”