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7 May, 2024 16:31

Two Ukrainian officials arrested over alleged plot to kill Zelensky

Kiev has reported exposing a “network of agents” preparing assassination attempts on top state officials
Two Ukrainian officials arrested over alleged plot to kill Zelensky

Two officers of the State Security Administration who were allegedly part of a conspiracy to assassinate top government and military officials were arrested on Tuesday, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has announced.

The agency, which is Kiev’s successor to the Soviet-era KGB, claimed in a post on Telegram that the two suspects were planning to kill Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, SBU head Vasily Malyuk, and the national intelligence chief, Kirill Budanov, among others.

The Strana news outlet has identified the detainees as the head of the State Security Administration, Andrey Guk, and his colleague, surnamed Derkach. Both are said to have been arrested simultaneously on Saturday.

The SBU says the men were agents of a network which it alleges was being orchestrated from Moscow, and were conducting surveillance of Zelensky and other government officials with intent to coordinate a missile strike and a kamikaze drone attack on them.

Guk was specifically accused of collecting and transmitting classified information on protected persons, including Zelensky.

The assassinations of some of the officials were reportedly supposed to take place before Orthodox Easter on May 5, with the murder of Zelensky supposedly being planned as a “gift to Putin before his inauguration” on Tuesday, Malyuk claimed in a statement quoted by the SBU.

The detainees have been charged with treason and preparing a terrorist attack and now face life in prison.

The alleged murder plot is just the latest the SBU has reportedly uncovered. Last month, the service also claimed that a suspect in Poland was transmitting information about the security of a Polish airport to Russian spies with the goal of orchestrating an assassination attempt on Zelensky during his visit to the country. Polish authorities later said that the man, named Pawel K., had been arrested and charged with “readiness to act for foreign intelligence against the Republic of Poland.”

Moscow has not yet commented on the latest assassination plot accusations. However, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev suggested that the incident in Poland indicated that Kiev’s Western backers were looking to get rid of Zelensky.

“An attempt on the life of the chief Banderite [Zelensky] in Poland? That is truly serious,” Medvedev commented in response to the arrest of the Polish man. “It may be the first piece of evidence that people in the West have made a decision to liquidate him. Be afraid, clown!”

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, Zelensky has repeatedly told Western media that Russia has been trying to kill him, with multiple attempts supposedly prevented by his security detail.

However, according to former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Vladimir Putin personally assured him in March 2022 that Moscow would not kill Zelensky.