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23 Apr, 2024 10:20

Third suspect detained over attempt to assassinate Ukrainian defector in Moscow – FSB

The man allegedly carried out surveillance at the home of the target, former SBU colonel Vasily Prozorov
Third suspect detained over attempt to assassinate Ukrainian defector in Moscow – FSB

A third suspect has been detained in connection with the attempted assassination of former Ukrainian colonel Vasily Prozorov, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on Tuesday.

A car owned by Prozorov, who previously served in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Kiev’s successor to the Soviet KGB, was blown up in Moscow on April 12. Prozorov and his driver sustained injuries but both survived the blast.

The third suspect in the case, a Ukrainian national born in 1995, was detained in the city of Lugansk in Donbass. He had allegedly acted on orders from an SBU agent, Ukrainian-born Yaroslava Khrestina, currently living in Warsaw, whom he met in 2021. The suspect is accused of carrying out surveillance over Prozorov’s residence in Moscow in mid-2023, in order to determine where her parked his car. In early April this year, he allegedly transferred 10,000 rubles ($110) to a “courier” who delivered components of the explosive device later used in the assassination attempt.

“The suspect confessed to his actions and is cooperating with the investigation,” the FSB said in a statement accompanying footage of the man’s detention and questioning.

The FSB earlier detained two other suspects in connection with the plot against Prozorov. The first is a Russian national, Vladimir Golovchenko, who allegedly assembled the bomb used in the assassination attempt and planted it under Prozorov’s car. The second has been named as Ivan Paskar, the alleged “courier” who received the parcel containing components of the explosive device in Lithuania and delivered it to the Russian capital. Both have been placed under arrest.

Prozorov worked for the SBU from 1999 to 2018. However, he was placed on the agency’s blacklist in 2019, after confessing that he had been providing intelligence to Russia about Kiev’s security services during the fighting between Ukraine and Donbass separatists. The region broke away from Kiev in 2014 and overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in 2022. The SBU branded Prozorov a “traitor,” warning that he could end up “just like Judas.”

The FSB alleges that the assassination attempt against Prozorov was organized on direct orders from the head of the SBU, Vasily Malyuk. He has previously acknowledged that his agency is believed to be behind assassination plots in Russia, but has refused to claim direct responsibility. He has, however, shared the details of several such attempts, implying the SBU’s involvement.